U.S. District Court for the NMI Bankruptcy Division designated judge Robert J. Faris has remanded to the Superior Court the NMI Retirement Fund's lawsuits against the CNMI government and Gov. Benigno R. Fitial, and against Commonwealth Utilities Corp.
As this developed, Faris also dismissed the Fund's lawsuits against different CNMI government agencies over their alleged failure to remit payments.
In separate orders issued on Thursday, Faris cited the dismissal of the underlying Fund's Chapter 11 bankruptcy case in remanding the Fund's lawsuits against the CNMI government, Fitial, and CUC.
In separate orders also issued on Thursday, Faris dismissed without prejudice the Fund's lawsuits against different CNMI government agencies. In dismissing the cases, the judge cited the same reason-the dismissal of the Fund's bankruptcy case.
After the filing of bankruptcy case, the Fund removed from Superior Court to the U.S. District Court for the NMI Bankruptcy Division its separate lawsuits against the CNMI government and Fitial, and CUC.
With the filing of bankruptcy case, the Fund then also filed separate lawsuits against CNMI government agencies in federal court's Bankruptcy Division.
The Fund filed the lawsuit in 2006 against the government, Fitial, the Department of Finance, and then Finance Secretary Eloy S. Inos over the government's failure to remit required payments.
In June 2009, Govendo ruled that the government owes the Fund $231.6 million in damages and that the law suspending government contributions to the Fund is unconstitutional.
In February 2011, the damages of the Fund reportedly increased to $317 million from the original $231 million.
In May 2011, the Fund filed the lawsuit against CUC in Superior Court for alleged failure to pay a total of $4.4 million in employer contributions, penalties, and economic damages. The lawsuit is pending in Superior Court.
With respect to the Fund's lawsuits against CNMI government agencies, in the first complaint the Fund named as defendants Commonwealth Government Credit Union, CNMI government, and Finance Secretary Larrisa Larson.
In the other complaint, named as defendants are the Public School System, Education Commissioner Rita A. Sablan, Board of Education secretary and treasurer Galvin S. Deleon Guerrero, BOE members MaryLou S. Ada, D. Tanya King, Lucia Blanco-Maratita, and Herman T. Guerrero.
The third complaint named the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation as the sole defendant.
The fourth complaint named as defendants Northern Marianas College, NMC president Sharon Y. Hart, NMC treasurer Frank Rabauliman, and Board of Regents members Juan T. Lizama, Elaine Hocog Orilla, Andrew Orsini, Maria T. Peter, and William S. Torres.
The fifth complaint named the CNMI government and Finance Secretary Larson as the defendants.