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John P. "Pete" Manaut

JohnP. "Pete"Manaut

top ranked USA Chambers and Partners 2016 John P. 'Pete' Manaut

Pete Manaut is a partner in the firm's Honolulu office and a member of the Litigation & Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Group. He concentrates his practice on complex construction, commercial and real property litigation. Mr. Manaut represents parties in all aspects of business litigation, mediation and arbitration, with particular experience in complex construction litigation, mechanic's lien and bond claims, real property disputes, lender liability, foreclosures, equitable title disputes, quiet title actions, toxic tort/environmental claims, asbestos and mold litigation, corporate and partnership dispute litigation, trust disputes, copyright infringement litigation, and  appellate work. He has practiced litigation full time in the Carlsmith Honolulu office for nearly 30 years.  Mr. Manaut is listed in Chambers USA:  America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2016 for Litigation:  General Commercial.

Representative Matters

Construction Litigation/Arbitration   As his primary practice area, he has represented owners, architects, contractors, and subcontractors in over one hundred actions of varying amounts and complexity in both arbitration and lawsuits involving contract, tort, asbestos, mold, mechanics' liens, bond claims and the Contractor's Repair Act.  Selected representative cases include:  1) Represented general contractor in $100 million construction project and successfully negotiated a multi-million dollar arbitration award against owner on undisbursed retention and delay claim; 2) Prevailed on summary judgment for dismissal of related $5 million claim against lender to release loan funds; 3) Successfully represented large landowner on claims involving applicability of restrictive covenants in deeds filed in Land Court affecting a multi-million dollar golf course development.

Commercial and Residential Real Estate Litigation  Mr. Manaut has handled many lawsuits and arbitrations involving interpretations of Purchase Contract/DROA language and applicability in disputes involving residential and commercial lease disputes, quiet title and disputes over land use and ownership, lender liability and foreclosure law.  Lead laywer cases include:   1) Represented international accounting firm in complex application of Canadian and U.S. law on various issues relating to lender liability. Successfully avoided substantial liability exposure and trial expense in summary judgment; 2) Litigated and negotiated a defense costs settlement on a $5 million claim against a large beer manufacturer by a former distributor on wrongful termination and lost profits claims; 3) Dismissed a quiet title action against a Japanese developer over conflicting property claims to a $600 million resort development; 4) Full recovery for contractor/developer in lawsuits and arbitration over disputed partnership share, including multi-million dollar delay and defect damages defenses.

LLC/Corporate/Partnership Disputes  Defended general partnership and corporation in litigation to discharge general partner. Case involved numerous complex partnership and corporate law issues. Obtained jury verdict as lead counsel in favor of clients in real estate partnership dispute after two month jury trial. Practice also emphasizes disputes involving intellectual property rights and the resolution of partnership, director and shareholder litigation and contract interpretation.

Government Contracting 1) Defended general contractor on government utilities contract against $3 million claim for wrongful termination of subcontractor and lost profits. Analysis of FAR, subcontract and partnering issues to successfully negotiate a defense costs resolution before trial. 2) Represented sign supplier against general contractor to recover for work performed on airport construction job. Successfully recovered balance on contract as well as a portion of legal fees in settlement after two month trial.

Toxic Tort/Environmental Litigation  Represented owners and contractors in numerous mold exposure investigations, remediation and litigation matters.  Handled numerous disputes on the duties to warn and remediate environmental risks and toxic exposure.  Represents defendants as lead local in asbestos cases filed in Hawai`i and USDC.

EIS Litigation Successfully defended City in EIS process challenge under HEPA and NEPA in both State Court and Federal Court.

Creditor and Lender Defense  Has handled numerous state foreclosures and defense of federal actions asserting TILA and FDCPA claims against financial institutions.

Appellate Work Has worked on more than 20 appeals involving commercial litigation at state and federal court levels.  Successfully argued appeals before the Hawai`i Supreme Court, ICA and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Representative Cases


  • Listed in Chambers USA:  America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2016 for Litigation:  General Commercial
  • Instructor, Construction Litigation, University of Hawai`i William S. Richardson School of Law
  • Lecturer and Co-Author, Hawai`i Construction Law and Mechanic's Liens 2015, with G. Clay and K. Holma


  • Hawai`i State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association

Areas of Practice

  • Litigation & Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Construction Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Real Estate & Land Use Litigation
  • Environmental Litigation
  • Insurance Litigation
  • Civil Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Hawaii
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court District of Hawaii


  • Gonzaga University School of Law,Spokane,Washington
    • J.D.
  • University of Colorado
    • B.A.