Superior Court associate judge David A. Wiseman yesterday issued a preliminary injunction that prohibits Gov. Benigno R. Fitial, acting attorney general Viola Alepuyo, Commonwealth Utilities Corp., and Saipan Development LLC from pursuing the $190-million power purchase agreement.
Wiseman said based on the consent of Fitial, Alepuyo, and CUC, he issues this preliminary injunction on the same terms as the temporary restraining order that he earlier issued.
Preliminary injunction refers to a court order issued in the early stages of a lawsuit which enjoins or prohibits a party or parties from performing an act in order to preserve the status quo until a pending ruling or outcome.
Wiseman said pursuant to his verbal order, Fitial, Alepuyo, CUC, and Saipan Development LLC are further enjoined from pursuing or performing on any agreements submitted as exhibit in the lawsuit, until further court's order.
On Aug. 21, 2012, Wiseman granted Rep. Janet U. Maratita's (Ind-Saipan) request for TRO.
Fitial and Alepuyo on Thursday filed a written statement on non-opposition to issuance of a preliminary injunction on the same terms as the TRO currently in place.
At the hearing on the motion for preliminary injunction, CUC, through counsel, joined in Fitial's and Alepuyo's position.
Attorney Ramon K. Quichocho, counsel for Maratita, filed on Thursday an amended complaint to include the Senate and Rep. Ray Anthony N. Yumul as Maratita's co-plaintiffs.
Acting AG Alepuyo substituted Buckingham as one of the defendants in the lawsuit because the former AG had already resigned.
In the amended complaint, Quichocho attached a copy of the power purchase agreement with the signature of a representative for Saipan Development LLC manager Donald R. Kurz. Fitial signed the agreement for CUC along with then AG Buckingham on Aug. 3, 2012.
The plaintiffs asked the court to declare that the 25-year power purchase agreement is “unconstitutional, illegal, unconscionable, and unjust, and therefore, cancelled.”