An investor filed yesterday a new lawsuit against attorney Ramon K. Quichocho and landowner Joaquin Q. Atalig for allegedly deceiving him in settling his previous lawsuit by promising to pay him $228,000 within a 160-day period.
According to plaintiff Sin Ho Nam, to date Quichocho and Atalig have paid only $16,800 against their contractual obligation and the express term of the settlement agreement.
Nam, through counsels Colin M. Thompson and S. Joshua Berger, is now suing in federal court Quichocho and Atalig for breach of contract and fraudulent misstatement.
Nam alleged that under the terms of their settlement agreement executed on Sept. 12, 2011, defendants should have paid the entire settlement amount of $228,000 by April 2, 2012.
Nam asked the U.S. District Court for the NMI to hold the defendants jointly liable to pay him in damages over $150,000. He also demanded interest, court costs, and attorney's fees.
As of press time, Quichocho had yet to reply Saipan Tribune's request for comment.
According to Thompson and Berger, on Nov. 1, 2011, the defendants delivered a check for $11,400 to Thompson's law office.
Thompson and Berger said the defendants breached the contract because the payment was deficient in that it was less than the contractually required amount then due of $22,800.
Thompson and Berger said one week later, defendants delivered a second check in the amount of $5,400 to Thompson's law office.
The two lawyers said this was the last payment that the defendants made to Nam.
Thompson and Berger said that, at a settlement conference before Judge Alex R. Munson, Quichocho and Atalig made false statements through their attorney that they intended to pay Nam $228,000 within 160 days.
Nam said he would not have settled the suit or recorded a release and cancellation of ground lease in the absence of such representations.
Nam previously sued Quichocho and Atalig for breaching a land lease agreement when they terminated a 55-year lease less than two years later despite having already paid $218,000.
U.S. District Court for the NMI then visiting judge Mark W. Bennett found Quichocho and Atalig liable to Nam for breach of contract.
Bennett in his order stated that Nam's remedies or question of damages and the entirety of his claim for breach of fiduciary duty against Quichocho will proceed to trial.
On Sept. 12, 2011, attorneys Thompson and Michael Dotts, counsel for Nam and Quichocho respectively, moved to dismiss all claims and counterclaims after they reached a settlement.
The terms of the settlement were then not publicly disclosed.
On Oct. 18, 2011, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona Manglona dismissed the lawsuit following the parties' agreement.
On Nov. 15, 2011, Nam requested the court to enforce their settlement agreement.
On Dec. 27, 2011, Manglona issued an order denying for lack of jurisdiction Nam's motion to enforce the settlement agreement.
Manglona said a court has jurisdiction to enforce a settlement agreement only if it expressly retained such jurisdiction or otherwise embodied the settlement contract in the dismissal order.
Nam moved the court to amend the dismissal order. Thompson said the amendment is needed so that the court can enforce the settlement agreement he entered with Quichocho and Atalig.
But in February 2012, Manglona denied Nam's motion to amend the dismissal order. She ruled that the record does not indicate an intention for the court to retain jurisdiction after dismissal.