IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF HAWAI'I
WAYNE DINES, Petitioner-Appellant, v. PACIFIC INSURANCE COMPANY, LTD., Respondent-Appellee
APPEAL FROM THE SECOND CIRCUIT COURT
(S.P. No. 93-0069(2))
APRIL 13, 1995
MOON, C.J., KLEIN, LEVINSON, NAKAYAMA, AND RAMIL, JJ.
OPINION OF THE COURT BY LEVINSON, J.
The petitioner-appellant Wayne Dines appeals the order of the second circuit court denying his petition to compel arbitration with his automobile liability insurance carrier, the respondent-appellee Pacific Insurance Company, Ltd. (Pacific), regarding his claim for uninsured motorist (UM) benefits. The outcome of Dines's appeal turns on whether, under Hawai'i law, a named insured under an automobile liability insurance policy, who is injured by a hit-and-run driver, can be entitled to UM bene- fits thereunder when the named insured is operating a motorcycle at the time of his accident. Because we hold that the named insured can, we reverse the circuit court's order denying Dines's petition to compel arbitration and remand this matter to the circuit court for the entry of an order granting Dines's peti- tion. I. BACKGROUND
On May 5, 1993, Dines allegedly lost control of his motorcycle when a driver of an unidentified automobile failed to yield the right-of-way at an intersection. Dines reported the accident to his automobile liability insurer, Pacific, by way of a certified letter mailed on June 3, 1993, and claimed UM bene- fits. Pacific received the letter on June 4, 1993, but refused to accept Dines's claim. At the time of the accident, Dines was the named insured under two relevant liability insurance policies. The first was issued by Progressive Companies (Progressive) and covered his motorcycle. Progressive's motorcycle policy con- tained bodily injury liability limits of $35,000.00 per person but did not include any optional UM coverage because Dines had expressly rejected it. The second, issued by Pacific, covered Dines's two automobiles and included UM coverage with limits of $250,000.00 per person and $500,000.00 per accident. Pacific's automobile policy included an arbitration agreement that provided that if Pacific and Dines could not agree on "[w]hether [Dines] [was] legally entitled to recover damages . . . [or] [a]s to the amount of damages[,] either party [could] make a written demand for arbitration."
On June 30, 1993, Dines demanded that Pacific arbitrate his UM claim pursuant to the arbitration agreement. Pacific refused. Pursuant to Hawai'i Revised Statutes (HRS) 658-3 (1985), Dines then filed a petition in the second circuit court seeking to compel Pacific to arbitrate his UM claim. When the circuit court denied his petition, Dines timely appealed.
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
A petition to compel arbitration is reviewed de novo, "using the same standard employed by the trial court and based upon the same evidentiary materials as were before [it] in determination of the motion." Koolau Radiology, Inc. v. Queen's Medical Center, 73 Haw. 433, 439-40, 834 P.2d 1294, 1298 (1992) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). We therefore apply the "right/wrong" test to the circuit court's order denying Dines's petition.
III. THE CONTROLLING STATUTE, APPLICABLE LEGAL PRINCIPLES, AND THE PLAIN LANGUAGE OF PACIFIC'S AUTOMOBILE POLICY
A. The Controlling Statute As Affected By Applicable Legal Principles
As of May 5, 1993 (the date of Dines's accident), UM coverage under Pacific's automobile policy was governed by the terms of Hawai'i Revised Statutes (HRS) 431:10C-301 (Supp. 1992), which provides in relevant part: Required motor vehicle policy coverage. . . . . (b) A motor vehicle insurance policy shall include: . . . . (3) With respect to any motor vehicle registered or principally garaged in this State, liability coverage . . . for bodily injury or death . . . for the protection of persons insured thereunder who are legally entitled to recover damages from owners or operators of uninsured motor vehicles because of bodily injury . . . resulting therefrom; provided, however, that the coverage required under this paragraph shall not be applicable where any named insured in the policy shall reject the coverage in writing[.]
Thus, as the named insured under Pacific's automobile policy, pursuant to which Dines had opted and paid premiums for $250,000.00 of personal UM coverage, HRS 431:10C-301(b)(3) obligated Pacific to indemnify Dines, inter alia, for any bodily injury that he sustained as a result of the conduct of the owner or operator of any uninsured motor vehicle from whom he was legally entitled to recover damages. Put differently, and as a general proposition, UM statutes such as HRS 431:10C-301(b)(3)
are considered to be remedial in nature designed to afford maximum protection to a state's residents, and to fill the gaps in compulsory insurance plans. Their purpose is to provide a remedy where injury is caused by an uninsured motorist; or, as has been more frequently stated, to provide a remedy to the innocent victims of irresponsible motorists who may have no resources to satisfy the damages they cause. This recourse  is provided, then, to cover the situation of a wrongful or tortious act of an uninsured motorist or a hit and run driver, or that of another unknown motorist. . . . Ideally, the purpose is to place those injured in the same position they would have occupied had the tortfeasor carried liability insurance. . . .
8C Appleman, Insurance Law and Practice 5067.45, at 41-46 (1981) (footnotes omitted) (quoted with approval in Dawes v. First Ins. Co. of Hawai'i, Ltd., 77 Hawai'i 117, 122-23, 883 P.2d 38, 43-44, reconsideration denied, 77 Hawai'i 489, 889 P.2d 66 (1994) (footnotes omitted) (brackets and ellipses in original)).
Being a remedial statute, HRS 431:10C-301(b)(3) is "to be construed liberally in order to accomplish the purpose for which it was enacted. . . . [Remedial] statutes are liberally construed to suppress the [perceived] evil and advance the [enacted] remedy." Flores v. United Air Lines, Inc., 70 Haw. 1, 12, 757 P.2d 641, 647 (1988) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted) (brackets in original). It is a cardinal principle of UM insurance that "[a]n insured or an insured vehicle must be involved in the accident in order to collect under the UM endorsement." 12A J. Couch, Cyclopedia of Insurance Law 45:634, at 127 (R. Anderson and M. Rhodes 2d ed. 1981) . . . (emphasis added). This is because "[t]he uninsured motorist policy is personal to the insured[,]" Palisbo v. Hawaiian Ins. & Guar. Co. Ltd., 57 Haw. 10, 15, 547 P.2d 1350, 1354 (1976) (emphasis added), or, put differently, the UM coverage follows the insured's person. Accordingly, [t]he nature of uninsured motorist insurance is such that an insured is covered whether or not he or she is injured while in a vehicle which is insured under the policy. . . . [A]n insured under the . . . policy . . . [is] entitled to recover uninsured motorist insurance benefits . . . even though she [is] injured while operating a vehicle not covered by the policy. Allstate Ins. Co. v. Morgan, 59 Haw. 44, 47- 48, 575 P.2d 477, 479-80 (1978). . . . Construing a statute similar in all material respects to HRS . . . 431:10C- 301(b)(3), the Connecticut Supreme Court aptly elaborated upon these general principles as follows: . . . [R]equired uninsured motorist coverage is "person oriented." . . . [T]he public policy embodied in [the UM statute] directs that uninsured motorist coverage be provided to insureds when they are not occupants of insured vehicles as well as when they are. Our uninsured motorist insurance statute . . . provides coverage for "persons insured thereunder who are legally entitled to recover damages from owners or operators of uninsured motor vehicles . . . ." (Emphasis added.) The coverage attaches to the insured person, not the insured vehicle. Thus, . . . an injured party may receive the benefits of a policy even though not occupying a vehicle insured under that policy. . . . . . . . An insured's status at the time of the injury, whether passenger, pedestrian, or driver of an insured or uninsured vehicle, is irrelevant to recovery under the statutorily mandated coverage. The coverage is portable: The insured and family members . . . are insured no matter where they are injured. They are insured when injured in an owned vehicle named in the policy, in an owned vehicle not named in the policy, in an unowned vehicle, on a motorcycle, on a bicycle, whether afoot or on horseback or even on a pogo stick or in a rocking chair on [one's] front porch. Uninsured motorist statutes place no geographical limits on coverage and do not purport to tie protection against uninsured motorists to occupancy of an insured vehicle. Uninsured motorist protection is coverage for persons, not for vehicles. Harvey v. Travelers Indem. Co., 188 Conn. 245, 248, 250, 449 A.2d 157, 159-60 (1982) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added).
Dawes, 77 Hawai'i at 123-24, 883 P.2d at 44-45 (emphasis added and some emphases deleted) (brackets in original). Consistent with the foregoing authority, the following propositions are established elements of this state's insurance law: (1) UM insurance coverage is personal to the named insured; (2) the public policy underlying HRS 431:10C-301(b)(3) mandates that the insured vehicle (i.e., the "covered auto" named in the policy) need not be involved in the accident in order for the named insured to be entitled to collect UM benefits; (3) UM coverage attaches to the named insured's person and not the insured vehicle; and, therefore, (4) a named insured, injured by an uninsured motorist from whom the named insured is legally entitled to recover damages, is entitled to UM coverage no matter where he or she is injured, whether the injury occurs while the named insured is (a) occupying an insured motor vehicle, (b) occupying an uninsured but owned motor vehicle, Methven-Abreu v. Hawaiian Ins. & Guar. Co., Ltd., 73 Haw. 385, 394-96, 834 P.2d 279, 285-86, reconsideration denied, 73 Haw. 625, 838 P.2d 860 (1992); Kau v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 58 Haw. 49, 51, 564 P.2d 443 (1977), (c) occupying an unowned motor vehicle, (d) on a motorcycle, (e) on a bicycle, (f) on horseback, (g) on a pogo stick, (h) on foot, or (i) in a rocking chair on a front porch. B. Plain Language Of Pacific's Automobile Policy The insuring agreement of the UM coverage section of Pacific's automobile policy obligated Pacific to Dines as fol- lows: A. [Pacific] will pay compensatory damages which an insured is legally entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle because of bodily injury: 1. Sustained by an insured; and 2. Caused by an accident. The owner's or operator's liability for these damages must arise out of the ownership, maintenance or use of the uninsured motor vehicle. . . . .
B. Insured as used in this Part means: 1. You and any family member. 2. Any other person occupying your covered auto. . . . . C. "Uninsured motor vehicle" means a land motor vehicle . . . of any type: . . . . 3. Which is a hit-and-run vehicle whose operator or owner cannot be identified and which hits: a. you or any family member; b. a vehicle which you or any family member are occupying; or
c. your covered auto.
(Bold in original.) "[Insurance] policies are subject to the general rules of contract construction; the terms of the policy should be interpreted according to their plain, ordinary, and accepted sense in common speech unless it appears from the policy that a different meaning is intended[.]" Dawes, 77 Hawai'i at 121, 883 P.2d at 42 (quoting First Ins. Co. of Hawai'i, Inc. v. State, 66 Haw. 413, 423, 665 P.2d 648, 655 (1983)). Moreover, "[insurance] policies are to be construed in accord with the reasonable expectations of a layperson." Id. (quoting Sturla, Inc. v. Fire- man's Fund Ins. Co., 67 Haw. 203, 209, 684 P.2d 960, 964 (1984)).
Nevertheless, as the voided portions of Pacific's automobile policy illustrate, see supra notes 4 and 5, ". . . the rule is that policies are to be governed by statutory requirements in force and effect at the time such policies are written. . . . Such provisions are read into each policy issued thereunder  and become a part of the contract with full binding effect upon each party." AIG Hawai'i Ins. Co., Inc. v. Estate of Caraang, 74 Haw. 620, 633, 851 P.2d 321, 328 (1993) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). Consequently, "[w]hen the terms of an insurance contract are in conflict with statutory language, the statute must take precedence over the terms of the contract." Sol [v.AIG Hawai'i Ins. Co.], 76 Hawai'i [304,] 307, 875 P.2d [921,] 924[, reconsideration denied, 76 Hawai'i 353, 877 P.2d 890 (1994).]
Id. at 121-22, 883 P.2d at 42-43 (footnote omitted); see also Methven-Abreu, 73 Haw. at 395-96, 834 P.2d at 285; National Union Fire Ins. Co. v. Olson, 69 Haw. 559, 563-64, 751 P.2d 666, 669 (1988); Walton v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 55 Haw. 326, 328, 518 P.2d 1399, 1400-01 (1974); Columbia Casualty Co. v. Hoohuli, 50 Haw. 212, 214-15, 437 P.2d 99, 102 (1968). Thus, by the plain language of the insuring agreement of the UM coverage section of the automobile policy that it issued to Dines, Pacific obligated itself: (1) to pay compensa- tory damages; (2) sustained by an "insured"; (3) which the "in- sured" is legally entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an "uninsured motor vehicle"; (4) because of bodily injury; (5) caused by an accident; (6) arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of the "uninsured motor vehicle." Under the circumstances of this case, and as a "layperson," there is little wonder that Dines rejected the UM coverage offered by Progressive Companies (Progressive) in connection with the motorcycle policy that it issued to Dines; after all, Dines already had $250,000.00 of UM coverage under the automobile policy issued to him by Pacific, which followed his person and protected him no matter where he was injured. C. HRS Ch. 431:10G Does Not Diminish Or Restrict An Insurer's Contractual Obligation To Accord A Named Insured Full UM Coverage Under An Automobile Policy Issued Pursuant To HRS 431:10C-301(b).
In National Union Fire Insurance Co. v. Ragil, 72 Haw.
205, 811 P.2d 473 (1991), this court stated the following in the context of underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance coverage:
[T]he Hawai[']i legislature drew a distinction between motorcycles and motor vehicles in enacting the no-fault insurance laws, Article 10C of HRS chapter 431[,] entitled Motor Vehicle Insurance. The legislature exempted, with limited exceptions, motorcycles from the no-fault insurance laws and created a separate section on required insurance coverage for motorcycles. In doing so, the legislature did not require insurers to offer underinsured [or, for that matter, uninsured] coverage to motorcycle owners or operators in contrast to the requirement that it be offered to motor vehicle owners or operators. . . . . [H]aving generally exempted motorcycle owners and operators from the provisions of Article 10C, the legislature chose to separately describe the required insurance coverage for motorcycles in Article 10C, Part V, entitled Motorcycles and Motor Scooters. Part V does not require insurers to offer underinsured [or uninsured] coverage. . . . (We note Part V relating to Motorcycle[s] and Motor Scooters was replaced in 1989 by Article 10G. The distinction between underinsured [and uninsured] coverage for motor vehicles and motorcycles has re- mained intact.) . . . . The rationale behind this disparate treatment of motorcycles and motor vehicles is obvious. Motorcycle riders consent to an inherently more dangerous risk because they are less protected on the roadways than those in automobiles. This greater risk is reflected in the higher premiums they must pay for insurance.
Id. at 210, 213-15, 811 P.2d at 476-78 (footnote omitted). Because it focused solely on the legislature's distinct statutory mechanisms for insuring "motor vehicles" (HRS ch. 431:10C) and motorcycles (HRS ch. 431:10G), the Ragil court missed the point regarding the right of an automobile policy's named insured to derive the benefits of the UM coverage that HRS 431:10C-301(b)(3) mandates an automobile insurer to offer and for which the named insured has paid. In this connection, the Ragil court lost sight of two central rules of statutory con- struction. First, "'[l]aws in pari materia, or upon the same subject matter, shall be construed with reference to each other. What is clear in one statute may be called in aid to explain what is doubtful in another.'" Richardson v. City and County of Honolulu, 76 Hawai'i 46, 55, 868 P.2d 1193, 1202 (citing HRS 1- 16 (1985) and Kam v. Noh, 70 Haw. 321, 325, 770 P.2d 414, 417 (1989)), reconsideration denied, 76 Hawai'i 247, 871 P.2d 795 (1994). Second, [s]tatutory language "must be read in the context of the entire statute and construed in a manner consistent with the purpose of the statutes." Pacific Ins. Co. v. Oregon Auto. Ins. Co., 53 Haw. 208, 212, 490 P.2d 899, 902 (1971). . . . Moreover, [i]t is a cardinal rule of statutory construction that courts are bound, if rational and practicable, to give effect to all parts of a statute, and that no clause, sentence, or word shall be con- strued as superfluous, void, or insignificant if a construction can legitimately be found which will give force to and preserve all the words of the statute. Camara v. Agsalud, 67 Haw. 212, 215-16, 685 P.2d 794, 797 (1984) ((citations omitted).
Methven-Abreu, 73 Haw. at 392-93, 834 P.2d at 284. See also State v. Mezurashi, 77 Hawai'i 96, 97, 881 P.2d 1240, 1243 (1994). It is obviously a given that a motorcycle is not a "motor vehicle" within the meaning of HRS 431:10C-103(8) (1987 Spec. Pamphlet) and, therefore, cannot be a "covered auto" under an automobile policy issued pursuant HRS 431:10C-301(b). Accordingly, a person seeking to insure his or her motorcycle must do so under a policy issued pursuant to HRS ch. 431:10G. Moreover, if a person lacks an insurable interest in a "motor vehicle," and has such an interest only in a motorcycle, the only possibility of obtaining UM coverage as a "named insured" arises if a motorcycle insurer, such as Progressive, is willing to offer it. A named insured under an automobile policy issued pursuant to HRS 431:10C-301(b), who happens to operate a motorcycle, is, however, in a very different position. As discussed above, UM coverage attaches to the named insured's person and not to any particular vehicle -- "motor" or other- wise. See supra at 5-7. That being the case, a "covered auto" named in an automobile policy need not be involved in an accident in order for the injured named insured to be entitled to collect UM benefits. Id. Thus, such a named insured, injured by an uninsured motorist from whom the named insured is legally entitled to recover damages, is entitled to UM coverage no matter where he or she is injured, be it in an automobile or a rocking chair on a front porch, or on a motorcycle, a bicycle, a horse, a pogo stick, or on foot. Id. The dissent agrees with us "(1) that HRS 431:10C- 301(b)(3) (Supp. 1992) governs the UM coverage under the Pacific automobile policy; (2) that this statute is remedial and '[should] be construed liberally in order to accomplish the purpose for which it was enacted'; and (3) that 'UM coverage follows the insured's person,' i.e., the named insured." Dis- senting opinion at 3 (brackets in original). Accordingly, the dissent accurately characterizes the rationale underlying our analysis as the view (which the dissent deems "mistaken") "that the rule of liberal construction applied to HRS 431:10C-301(b) means [that] UM benefits follow the person [of the named insured] no matter where he or she is injured, even if he or she is injured while operating a motorcycle." Id. at 19. Nevertheless, the dissent accuses us of engaging in "judicial legislation" by "misapply[ing] the rule of liberal construction[,] thereby frustrating the legislature's intent." Id. In our view, it is the dissent that is "mistaken" when it accuses us of "frustrating the legislature's intent" through "judicial legislation." Just as the dissent seeks to do, we are construing statutes. The fact is that reasonable minds can differ; our divergent interpretations merely underscore the complexity of the specific issue before us and the likelihood that the legislature never even considered it. In the course of its exhaustive recitation of the evolution of HRS 431:10C-301(b), the dissent selectively invokes various "fundamental tenets of statutory construction," dissenting opinion at 1, to maintain the fiction that the legis- lature intended "not [to] extend motor vehicle UM coverage to an insured who is injured while operating a motorcycle." Id. at 20. Of course "the first cardinal rule of statutory construction is that 'legislative enactments are presumptively valid and should be interpreted in such a manner as to give them effect.'" Dissenting opinion at 1 (quoting Richardson, 76 Hawai'i at 54, 868 P.2d at 1201). Of course, "[a]bsent any constitutional obstacles in applying the law, this court's function is 'to ascertain and give effect to the legislature's intention to the fullest degree.'" Id. at 2 (quoting Sol, 76 Hawai'i at 307, 875 P.2d at 924). And of course "'[c]ourts . . . must presume that [the legislature] meant what it said'" and "'[o]nly unmistakable support in the history and structure of the legislation can justify a rejection of otherwise unambiguous language.'" Id. (quoting Richardson, 76 Hawai'i at 57, 868 P.2d at 1204). None of these "fundamental tenets of statutory construction" favors the dissent's view of HRS 431:10C-301(b) over ours.
But it is also true, although the dissent seems to forget it, that "[m]ore often than not, what passes for 'legisla- tive intent' is no more than the ideas of a few individual legislators. Statements by legislators or even committee reports need not reflect the purpose which a majority of the legislators believed is carried out by [a] statute." Yoshizaki v. Hilo Hospital, 50 Haw. 150, 153 n.5, 433 P.2d 220, 223 n.5 (1967). A fortiori, legislative studies by nonmembers of the legislature do not have the probative value of committee reports or debates for purposes of establishing "legislative intent." Twentieth Century Furniture, Inc. v. Labor and Indus. Relations Appeal Board, 52 Haw. 577, 580, 482 P.2d 151, 152-53 (1971). Ultimately, there- fore, "our duty in interpreting statutes is to give effect to the legislature's intent[,] which is obtained primarily from the language of the statute" itself. Allstate Ins. Co. v. Hirose, 77 Hawai'i 362, 364, 884 P.2d 1138, 1140 (1994). The bottom line is that the dissent's assertion that "the majority's analysis ignores clear statutory language and legislative intent," dissenting opinion at 2, is simply wrong. First, we have not "adopt[ed] a construction of HRS 431:10C- 301(b) that effectively renders [HRS ch. 431:10G] a nullity" by "seemingly limit[ing] article 10G to consumers whose only insurable interest is [in] a motorcycle or motor scooter." Id. at 17-18. HRS ch. 431:10G obviously applies to all named insureds under motorcycle and motor scooter insurance policies issued pursuant to the article, and nothing in this opinion suggests otherwise. The point is that HRS ch. 431:10G, by its plain language, does not limit the rights of HRS 431:10C-301(b) named insureds to full UM coverage thereunder. See supra at 12- 15. By the same token, we do not "completely disregard the distinct risk pools recognized by the legislature when it enacted a separate insurance rating system in HRS 431:10G- 201[,]" such that the legislature went to "the trouble of enacting a separate rating system for motorcycles and motor scooters to accomplish absolutely nothing." Dissenting opinion at 19. Although the legislature may have failed fully to think through the complex interrelationship between HRS chs. 431:10C and 431:10G, it did not accomplish "absolutely nothing" by enacting them; motorcycle insurers, such as Progressive, receive the increased premiums to which they are entitled under HRS 431:10G-201 (Supp. 1992). But the fact remains that HRS 431:10G-201 applies only to motorcycle and motor scooter insur- ance, such as the policy issued by Progressive to Dines; it does not otherwise alter the requirements imposed upon motor vehicle insurance carriers pursuant to HRS 431:10C-301(b). Nothing in the legislative history underlying HRS ch. 431:10G indicates to the contrary. Hse. Stand. Comm. Rep. No. 1262, in 1989 House Journal, at 1306-07, merely states that HRS ch. 431:10G was being created "to contain provisions applicable to motorcycle and motor scooter insurance." Indeed, the report contemplated, inter alia, that Article 10G would "[p]rovide that tort liability is not abolished with respect to accidental harm incurred in or arising out of a motorcycle or motor scooter accident, and state the circumstances under which a cause of action in tort shall exist[.]" Id.; see HRS 431:10G-105 (Supp. 1992), the relevant text of which is set forth infra at note 16. At the very least, it is clear that circumstances can exist under which an injured motorcyclist, who is a named insured under an automobile policy issued pursuant to HRS 431:10C-301(b), can be legally entitled to recover damages against an uninsured tortfeasor. Sen. Stand. Comm. Rep. No. 790, in 1989 Senate Journal, at 1103, simply reiterates that the purpose of HRS ch. 431:10G "is to amend the laws of the State relating to motorcycle and motor scooter insurance." The dissent cites the enactment of HRS 431:10C-501 (1987 Spec. Pamphlet) for the erroneous proposition that "the legislature unambiguously exempted, with limited exceptions, motorcycles and motor scooters from [HRS ch. 431:]10C[,] includ- ing the provisions relating to UM coverage[.]" Dissenting opinion at 13. HRS 431:10C-501 provides in relevant part:
Motorcycle or motor scooter excluded from article. (a) All motorcycles and motor scooters required to be registered under chapter 286 shall be exempt from this article; provided that: . . . . (2) In the case of accidental harm arising out of a motorcycle or motor scooter accident to any passenger of such motorcycle or motor scooter, or any pedestrian, motorcycles and motor scooters shall not be exempt from section 431:10C-301 [i.e., "[r]equired motor vehicle policy coverage"], section 431:10C-304 [i.e., "[o]bligation to pay no-fault benefits"] and section 431:10C-306 [i.e., "[a]bolition of tort liability"]; (2) In the case of accidental harm arising out of an accident involving a motorcycle or motor scooter and a motor vehicle, the owner or operator of a motorcycle or motor scooter shall not be exempt from section 431:10C-306.
(Emphasis added.) The dissent's recitation of HRS 431:10C-501 neither undermines the analysis contained in this opinion nor bolsters the dissent's position. First, as part of HRS ch. 431:10C, Part V, the section in question was repealed by the legislature in 1989, see supra note 8, has no counterpart in HRS ch. 431:10G, see supra note 9, and was not the law of this state at the time of Dines's accident. Second, and more importantly, there is no tension between the provisions of HRS 431:10C-501 and Dines's right to claim UM benefits under the automobile policy issued by Pacific and as to which he is the named insured. For present purposes, HRS 431:10C-501(a)(2) merely stands for the proposition that an injured motorcycle passenger can derive the benefits of HRS 431:10C-301 and -304, but must nevertheless meet the threshold requirements of HRS 431:10C-306, when making a claim against a motorcycle operator as a result of a "motorcycle accident." See HRS 431:10G-101 (Supp. 1992) (defining "motorcycle accident" to mean "an accident arising out of the operation, maintenance, or use of a motorcycle, but not involving a motor vehicle") (emphasis added)); see also supra note 7 (citing HRS 431:10C- 103(8) (1987 Spec. Pamphlet), which defines "motor vehicle," inter alia, to exclude motorcycles). By the same token, and for present purposes, HRS 431:10C-501(a)(3) merely stands for the proposition that an injured motorcycle operator must meet the threshold requirements of HRS 431:10C-306 when making a claim against the operator of an automobile as a result of a "motor vehicle accident," see HRS 431:10C-103(9) (1987 Spec. Pamphlet) and infra note 14, such as the one at issue in the present case. Significantly, however, section 501(a)(3) also conclusively establishes that circumstances can exist under which an injured motorcyclist, who is a named insured under an automobile policy issued pursuant to HRS 431:10C-301(b), can be legally entitled to recover damages against an uninsured tortfeasor. When all is said and done, the dissent points to no statutory language, legislative history, or anything else that expressly delineates any exception to, or limitation of, the scope of UM coverage accorded to a named insured under a motor vehicle insurance policy issued pursuant to HRS 431:10C-301(b), which coverage follows the named insured's person wherever he or she may be injured. If the legislature wishes to limit such coverage, it can enact legislation that says so. In short, the dissent's attempt at refutation fails to justify its position that "the legislature . . . did not extend motor vehicle UM coverage to an insured who is injured while operating a motor- cycle." Dissenting opinion at 20.
IV. DINES IS ENTITLED TO CLAIM UM BENEFITS UNDER PACIFIC'S AUTOMOBILE POLICY.
In the present matter, Dines alleges that he lost control of his motorcycle and was forced off the roadway, thereby sustaining bodily injury and damages, when a driver of an uniden- tified automobile failed to yield the right of way at an inter- section. It is undisputed that Dines was the named insured under an automobile policy issued by Pacific. As noted above, by the plain language of the insuring agreement of the UM coverage section of the policy, Pacific has obligated itself to pay such compensatory damages sustained by Dines, insofar as he is legally entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an uninsured vehicle because of bodily injury caused by an accident arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of the uninsured vehicle. See supra at 8. Assuming the truth, which Pacific is free to contest in the arbitration proceedings, of Dines's claim, he has suffered bodily injury and damages caused by an accident arising out of
the use of an uninsured vehicle. Further assuming that the operator of the uninsured vehicle breached a duty to Dines that legally caused his injuries and damages and Dines can satisfy the prerequisites of HRS 431:10G-105 (Supp. 1992), see Methven- Abreu, 73 Haw. at 398, 834 P.2d at 286-87, Dines would be legally entitled to recover from the operator of the uninsured vehicle. In accordance with the analysis set forth in sections III and IV of this opinion, it therefore follows, and we so hold as a matter of law, that Dines is entitled to claim UM benefits under Pacific's automobile policy.
The arbitration agreement contained in Pacific's automobile policy entitled Dines, inter alia, to arbitrate the question "[w]hether [he] is legally entitled to recover damages" and the amount thereof. Because Dines's claim is one "which on its face is governed by the [insurance] contract," it is "arbi- trable under [the] agreement." Koolau Radiology, Inc., 73 Haw. at 445, 448, 834 P.2d at 1300, 1302. We reverse the circuit court's order denying Dines's petition to compel arbitration and remand this matter to the circuit court for the entry of an order granting Dines's peti- tion.
On the briefs:
Larry Mark Polsky and Burton D. Gould (of Polsky & Gould) for petitioner-appellant Wayne Dines
Glenn J. Stanford and Gary W. K. Au Young for respondent-appellee Pacific Insurance Company, Ltd.
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