The Hawaii state Supreme Court’s office is fielding dozens of complaints from residents in Maui who say that they are being preyed upon by unscrupulous lawyers from out of state. Local lawyers are now warning clients to use caution with these tourist lawyers, as they don’t have to play by the same rules and could easily steal any settlement money that comes their way. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.

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*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: The Hawaii State Supreme Court’s office is fielding dozens of complaints from residents in Maui who say that they’re being preyed upon by unscrupulous lawyers from outta state. Local lawyers are now warning clients to use caution. These tourist lawyers, they don’t have to play by the same rules in Hawaii. We’ve done a couple of stories that, full disclosure, we work with a lawyer in Hawaii because we kind of have a specialty in this kind of thing, but we’re not over there soliciting cases. But they’re people that apparently are from New York, California, Florida.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. Oregon, pretty much, Texas, everywhere. You’ve talked about these lawyers come and they parachute in, and what they’re doing, according to these people in Maui who are filing these complaints, is they said, listen, this lawyer came up to me and said, hey, listen, I’ll take your case. Don’t you worry about it. Just give me partial ownership of your property. You know, a 10% stake in your own home. Exorbitant lawyer fees and all kinds of, and the people are freaked out. They say, whoa, whoa. This is not at all how a lawyer is supposed to behave. And so the Supreme Court’s disciplinary panel is saying, listen, these aren’t our Hawaii lawyers. And so unfortunately we can’t do anything. And that’s the scary part, because you can have these lawyers from out of state come in there, and they don’t have to necessarily abide by the same rules that the Hawaii lawyers do.

Mike Papantonio: Ultimately, they can get the lawyer that’s doing that if there’s fraud involved. It doesn’t make any difference where they live. They’re gonna be able to do something about it. But the first reaction is we had the same thing happen with every hurricane that happens around here. And when we were asked to get involved in Hawaii, my first reaction was, well, we don’t practice in Hawaii. We don’t have a license. We do practice in most places all over the country. I’ve tried cases in most states as a matter of fact. But the thing to do is to have a local lawyer. Like we have one that we work with as a local lawyer, and they’re responsible to those clients on the ground. And so that’s what you want to ask. You wanna ask, well, where are you from, buddy? You from New York? Who are you working with over here? And so there’s an easy solution. People just need to be aware of it.

Farron Cousins: Well, and to point out too, you with your firm, y’all are working with a local lawyer because they’ve asked you for your expertise. They’ve asked you for help, just like happens all over the country. You may not be handling the cases, but you and your firm are seen as one of the top in this country. So people reach out to you every day just saying, hey, advise on this, advise on that. And so that’s a lot of what this is.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah, it is. And they’re just trying to skip a step. They’re trying to freeze out the local lawyer and just do it themselves. And I hope the Supreme Court keeps pounding on ’em about it.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.