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Litigation Division

The Office of the Corporation Counsel provides legal representation on behalf of the County of Hawai’i, its officers, representatives and employees in resolving disputes such as lawsuits, arbitration, mediation and claims, filed against the County of Hawai’i and its officers, representatives and employees.

Bill Brilhante | Katherine Garson | Joseph Kamelamela | Laureen Martin | Diane Noda | Melody Parker | Noralynne Pinao | Christopher Schlueter | Michael Udovic

Counseling and Drafting Division

The Counseling and Drafting Division of the Office of the Corporation Counsel advises all departments, boards, agencies, and commissions on legal matters, which impact that particular County entity. The Division drafts appropriate legislation for consideration by the County Council or the State Legislature. The Division also provides legal representation on behalf of the County of Hawai’i in administrative proceedings, including contested case hearings and agency appeals.

Bill Brilhante | Katherine Garson | Joseph Kamelamela | Craig Masuda | Margaret Masunaga | Jennifer D.K. Ng | Renee Schoen | Amy Self | Molly Stebbins 

ATTORNEYS


Molly A. Stebbins - Administration/Counseling & Drafting

MOLLY A. STEBBINS was appointed Corporation Counsel for the County of Hawai`i in June 2014. Ms. Stebbins joined the office in 2007 and served as the deputy corporation counsel assigned to the police, fire and human resources departments during that period. Ms. Stebbins received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in Social Thought and Political Economy. She received her Juris Doctor degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa where she was a member of the Jessup International Law Moot Court team and a recipient of the John S. Edmunds Award for Civility and Vigorous Advocacy. Prior to joining the Office of the Corporation Counsel she clerked for former circuit court judge, now Hawai’i Supreme Court Associate Justice Michael D. Wilson. She is licensed to practice law in the State of Hawai‘i and is also admitted to appear before the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Ms. Stebbins is a member of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association and the Hawai‘i County Bar Association. She previously served two terms as the East Hawai’i Director for the Young Lawyers Division of the HSBA.


 

William V. Brilhante, Jr - Litigation/Counseling & Drafting

WILLIAM V. BRILHANTE, JR is a member of the Litigation Division and the Counseling and Drafting Division.

Mr. Brilhante earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Hawai‘i and his Juris Doctor degree from Chapman University School of Law, wherein he was awarded a certificate in the Land Use Regulation, Zoning and Environmental Law Program. He is licensed to practice law in Hawai‘i and California. Mr. Brilhante is admitted to appear before the United States District Courts for the District of Hawai‘i and Central District of California. Prior to attending law school, he provided over ten years of service as a member of the Hawai‘i Fire Department.

Prior to joining the Office of the Corporation Counsel, Mr. Brilhante previously served as deputy attorney general for the State of Hawai‘i, associate attorney with the firm of Crudele & DeLima, and assistant regional counsel for the Social Security Administration in San Francisco, California.

Mr. Brilhante’s current professional affiliations include membership in the Hawai‘i State Bar Association, Hawai‘i County Bar Association, and Hawai‘i Island Portuguese Chamber of Commerce. During his personal time, Mr. Brilhante enjoys volunteering with the American Youth Soccer Association, Pio`Pio Bears Athletic Association and St. Joseph School Advisory Board of Directors.


Katherine A. Garson - Litigation/Counseling & Drafting

KATHERINE A. GARSON is the Deputy Corporation Counsel for the County of Hawai‘i.

She graduated from Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy and received her Advanced Bachelors degree at Occidental College. Ms. Garson obtained her Juris Doctor degree from Santa Clara University School of Law. She is licensed to practice law in Hawai‘i and California and is also admitted to appear before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i.

Ms. Garson is a former associate with the Law Office of Valta A. Cook and also worked for the Law Office of David R. Sylva in Campbell, California.

Katherine Garson is a member of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association and the Hawai‘i County Bar Association and serves on the board of the Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of East Hawai‘i.


Joseph K. Kamelamela - Litigation/Counseling & Drafting

JOSEPH K. KAMELAMELA is the Senior Deputy Corporation Counsel

Mr. Kamelamela is a graduate of Aiea High School on Oahu. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and his Juris Doctor degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. He is licensed to practice law in Hawai‘i and also is admitted to appear before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i.

Prior to his tenure at the Office of the Corporation Counsel, he served as a deputy prosecuting attorney for the County of Hawai‘i for six years and as a law clerk/bailiff for Judge Shunichi Kimura of the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit.

Mr. Kamelamela is a member of the American Bar Association, the Hawai‘i State Bar Association, and Hawai‘i County Bar Association and served as its treasurer in the past. His current community activities include being a member of the Board of Directors for Hospice of Hilo and an arbitrator for the Court Annexed Arbitration Program for the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit.


Laureen L. Martin - Administration/Litigation

LAUREEN L. MARTIN is the Assistant Corporation Counsel/Section Chief for the Litigation Division.

Ms. Martin received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts at Boston in Business Administration with a minor in Economics. She received her Juris Doctor degree from Suffolk University where she graduated cum laude and was the recipient of the American Jurisprudence Awards in Products Liability, Criminal Law and Real Estate Transactions.

Prior to working for the County of Hawai`i, Ms. Martin worked for the Department of the Corporation Counsel for the County of Maui where she was assigned to litigation and handled a variety of cases, including motor vehicle accidents, roadway defects and cases alleging excessive force.  Prior to working for the government, Ms. Martin was in private practice specializing in personal injury matters.

Ms. Martin has been licensed to practice law in the State of Hawai`i since 1993. She is also admitted to appear before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States District Court for the District of Hawai`i.

Ms. Martin is a member of the Hawai`i State Bar Association and the Hawai`i County Bar Association.


Craig T. Masuda - Counseling & Drafting

CRAIG T. MASUDA is the Section Chief for the Counseling and Drafting Division

Craig Masuda is a counseling and drafting division member assigned to the Civil Defense, Data Systems and Finance Departments. He also handles bankruptcies, foreclosures, tax deeds and tax appeals, as well as the Pension Board.

Mr. Masuda received his Juris Doctor degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. He is licensed to practice law in Hawaii and admitted to appear before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i.

He is a member of the Hawai‘i State Bar and the Hawai‘i County Bar Associations.


Margaret K. Masunaga - Counseling & Drafting

MARGARET K. MASUNAGA is a member of the Counseling & Drafting Division

Margaret K. Masunaga is a Deputy Corporation Counsel in the West Hawaii Civic Center.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of California at Berkeley, and obtained her Juris Doctor degree at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.  She is licensed to practice law in Hawaii and is also admitted to appear before the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii.

Prior to her positions in the public sector as a Deputy Corporation Counsel, Deputy Planning Director, and Deputy Attorney General, she was an associate attorney at Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel.  Ms. Masunaga is an American Bar Association (ABA) State Delegate for Hawaii, member of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, and Hawaii Council for the Humanities. She previously served on the Hawaii Supreme Court Disciplinary Board, State Elections Commission, White House Forum on Women & the Economy, Chair of the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, ABA Commission on Racial & Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, Hawaii State Bar Association Treasurer and Board, West Hawaii Bar Association President and Board, Board of Governors of the Hawaii Community Foundation, and National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

Ms. Masunaga is the recipient of the U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award, Gold Recipient, Hawaii Women’s Legal Foundation Public Service Award, Soroptimist International of Kona “Women Helping Women” Award, Hawaii Lawyers Care Spirit of Neighbor Island Award, Hawaii State Bar Association YLD Justice Award, and ABA Family Law Section Pro Bono Award.

She lives on a Kona coffee farm with her husband Gail and they have two daughters, Colette and Jana.


Jennifer D.K. Ng - Counseling & Drafting

JENNIFER D.K. NG is a member of the Counseling and Drafting Division.

Ms. Ng graduated from Waiakea High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon. She obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law, where she was a member of the University of Hawai‘i Law Review. She is licensed to practice law in the State of Hawai‘i and is admitted to appear in the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i.

Prior to joining the Office of the Corporation Counsel, Ms. Ng worked for the State of Hawai‘i Office of the Public Defender on Oahu and in Hilo, representing indigent persons charged with criminal offenses. Ms. Ng also served as an associate at the Honolulu law firm Kessner Duca Umebayashi Bain & Matsunaga, and as law clerk to the Honorable Riki May Amano (retired). She is a member of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association and the Hawai‘i County Bar Association


Diane A. Noda - Litigation

DIANE A. NODA is a member of the Litigation Division.

She is a graduate of Hilo High School. Ms. Noda received a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, a Master of Education degree from the University of Oregon, and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Washington. She is licensed to practice law in Hawai‘i and Washington, and is admitted to appear before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i.

Prior to joining the Office of the Corporation Counsel team, her prior experiences include being a Hawai‘i County deputy prosecuting attorney and an elementary school teacher in Eugene, Oregon.

She has served as president and vice president of the Hawai‘i County Bar Association and the county representative to the Hawai‘i State Bar Association Government Lawyers Section.


Melody Parker - Litigation

MELODY PARKER is a member of the Litigation division.

Ms. Parker prior to joining the Corporation Counsel served as a senior litigator for the Office of the Public Defender. Ms. Parker received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Hawaii at Hilo, a Minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and her Juris Doctor degree from The William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is licensed to practice law in the State of Hawaii and the Federal Courts for the District of Hawaii.   


Noralynne K. Pinao - Litigation

NORALYNNE K. PINAO is a member of the Litigation Division.

Ms. Pinao graduated from the Kamehameha Schools, received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Hawaii  at  Manoa and her law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law.  She is licensed to practice in Hawaii and admitted to appear before the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii.

Prior to working for the County of Hawaii, she was a director and officer in private practice specializing in workers’ compensation defense for nearly 30 years.  Ms. Pinao also served as a Deputy Attorney General for the State of Hawaii in the Labor Section and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu.  She is a member of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association and the Hawai‘i County Bar Association.


Christopher P. Schlueter - Litigation

CHRISTOPHER P. SCHLUETER is a member of the Litigation Division

Mr. Schlueter graduated from St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. He received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Xavier University and his Juris Doctor degree from Gonzaga University.  Mr. Schlueter is licensed to practice law in Hawai`i, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and also admitted to appear before the United States District Court for the District of Hawai`i.  Prior to joining the Office of the Corporation Counsel team, he was in private practice as an associate with the Law Offices of Steven D. Strauss.  Mr. Schlueter’s current professional affiliations include membership in the Hawai`i County Bar Association (President, 2013) and the Hawai`i State Bar Association. 


Renee N.C. Schoen - Counseling & Drafting

RENEE N.C. SCHOEN is a member of the Counseling and Drafting Division.

Schoen graduated from the Kamehameha Schools, received her Bachelors of Science degree from Santa Clara University, and her Juris Doctorate degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law. She is licensed to practice law in Hawaii and admitted to appear before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii.

Prior to her tenure at the Office of the Corporation Counsel, Ms. Schoen worked at the Hilo office of the Legal Aid Society of Hawai‘i. Ms. Schoen also served as a Deputy Attorney General, a Deputy Public Defender, and as a law clerk to the Honorable Judge Daniel Heely of the First Circuit Court. Ms. Schoen is a member of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association and the Hawai‘i County Bar Association.


Amy G. Self - Counseling & Drafting

AMY G. SELF is a member of the counseling and drafting division assigned to the Planning Department and the following committees and commissions: Public Access, Open Space & Natural Resources Commission; Kailua Village Design Commission; Hawai‘i County Cultural Resources Commission; Kona Community Development Plan (CDP) Steering Committee; Puna CDP Steering Committee; South Kohala CDP Steering Committee; and the North Kohala CDP Steering Committee. Ms. Self represents the Planning Director at contested case hearings before the Planning Commission and the Board of Appeals, and at any subsequent appellate proceedings before the Hawai‘i State courts.

Ms. Self is a graduate of Hickory High School in Hickory, North Carolina. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Appalachian State University, a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and a Juris Doctor degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. Ms. Self is licensed to practice in Hawai‘i and admitted to appear before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i.

Prior to joining the Office of the Corporation Counsel team, she was in private practice with the firm of Carlsmith Ball LLP in Hilo and in Honolulu. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Self worked as a paralegal at the firm of Carlsmith Ball LLP in Honolulu, at the Maui County Office of the Corporation Counsel and at the Legal Aid Office on Maui.

Her community service activities include serving as the past board president of the YWCA of Hawai‘i Island and volunteering for Volunteer Legal Services Hawai‘i.


Michael J. Udovic - Litigation

MICHAEL J. UDOVIC is a member of the Litigation Division.

Mr. Udovic graduated from Saint Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs, California. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from California State University at Long Beach, a Bachelor of Science degree in law and his Juris Doctor degree from Glendale University College of Law.

His previous experiences include private practice in California and serving as a deputy prosecuting attorney for Hawai‘i County. Mr. Udovic is licensed to practice law in Hawai‘i and California. He is admitted to appear before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i.

He is a current member of the Hawai‘i State Bar and Hawai‘i County Bar Associations, and a past member of the American Bar Association and the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Mr. Udovic was a member of the Hawai‘i governor’s committee to rewrite DUI laws, and has served as a trial practice trainer with the National College of District Attorneys. He has also served as a judge pro tem in Pasadena and Alhambra municipal courts.

Mr. Udovic is a lecturer at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, teaching courses in constitutional law, criminal law and criminal procedure. He is active in the educational and youth programs at his local church.