|Ellen Godbey Carson|
Ellen Godbey Carson
Phone: (808) 524-1800
An honors graduate of Harvard Law School and former president of the Hawai`i State Bar, Ellen Godbey Carson is a leading authority on healthcare law and dispute resolution in the state of Hawai`i.
Carson has 30 years of litigation and dispute resolution experience, successfully representing clients in federal and state courts, agency proceedings, arbitration and mediation. Her work has covered a broad variety of complex matters, including healthcare, constitutional, civil rights, environmental, contracts, real property, construction and employment.
Her practice focuses primarily on representing healthcare providers, hospitals, health plans and innovative health care companies in the regulatory world of healthcare law, including healthcare advice related to risk management, peer review, credentialing, healthcare reform (PPACA), HIPAA, ERISA, COBRA and medical malpractice defense. Her clients have included most of the major health plans and hospital facilities in Hawai`i as well as numerous individual medical providers and healthcare related companies.
Carson is nationally recognized as one of the lead counsel in the class action suit for Americans of Japanese ancestry who were exiled from their homes and imprisoned in racial prison camps by the United States government during World War II. That case resulted in findings of fraud and concealment by the U.S. government in regard to the mass deprivations of civil rights. While judicial relief was ultimately denied, the lawsuit assisted in obtaining a Presidential apology to those imprisoned and Congressional redress payments to those who survived.
Carson also serves as an arbitrator and mediator on a broad variety of legal disputes and has served on the panel of neutrals for numerous arbitration programs. She is a popular speaker and has provided hundreds of presentations in numerous states and nations on issues related to healthcare, women's rights, alternative dispute resolution, and justice and equality issues.
Her commitment and accomplishments have been recognized by both local and national organizations, including the American Bar Association which in 2006 awarded her the Margaret Brent Award, given to only five women each year who have made major contributions toward securing equality for women.
Carson's childhood was spent in the Appalachian mountains of east Tennessee, where she was strongly influenced by acts of racism, sexism and religious intolerance that were too often accepted rather than challenged. Her concern about these injustices inspired her to become a lawyer to improve laws that affect people's lives and dignity.
Awards and Recognitions
William Hohri et al vs. United States of America, 586 F.Supp. 769 (D.D.C. 1984), rev. 782 F.2d 227 (D.C. Cir. 1986), rev. 482 U.S. 64 (1987), 847 F.2d 779 (1988), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 925 (1988), a class action lawsuit for constitutional redress for Japanese Americans deprived of their civil liberties during World War II. The suit assisted in obtaining a Presidential apology to those who were imprisoned and Congressional redress payments.
Hawaii Management Alliance Association v. Insurance Commissioner of the State of Hawai`i, 106 Haw. 21 (2004), successful challenge of the state's mandatory external appeal procedure for benefit disputes, resulting in the Hawai'i Supreme Court holding the law was preempted by ERISA (the Employees Retirement Income Security Act).
Sallee v. Tropic Seas (Haw., 1st Cir. No. 91-3936-1) and United States v. Tropic Seas, 887 F.Supp.. 1347 (D. Haw. 1995), defense of an eviction action combined with a successful counterclaim for family discrimination, resulting in a federal consent order with one of the highest awards nationally at that time for family discrimination.
Locations, Inc. v. Hawai'i Dept. of Labor, 79 Haw. 208 (1995), successful declaratory judgment action establishing that real estate agents are independent contractors so that workers compensation mandates do not apply to them.
Liberty Dialysis-Hawaii LLC v. Rainbow Dialysis LLC (First Circuit Court, Hawaii), obtained certificate of need for new dialysis service in a strongly contested challenge by the sole dialysis provider on Maui, involving multi-day contested case proceeding; currently on appeal.
Suzanne Osgood v. District of Columbia, 567 F.Supp. 1026 (D.D.C. 1983), a prisoner rights/religious freedom lawsuit resulting in a consent order against the Washington, D.C. government requiring respect for the religious freedom of inmates.
Constitutional and Civil Rights Litigation
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Federal and State Courts
General Business Advice
Affiliations and Community Leadership
State Bar Admissions