One of two previously unnamed plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and the NMI Retirement Fund amended her complaint yesterday to name herself as a lone plaintiff in a class action suit.
Betty Johnson named as defendants Fitial, Fund trustees Adelina C. Roberto and Nacrina Barcinas, former Fund administrator Richard S. Villagomez, Finance Secretary Larissa Larson, the CNMI government, Finance, the Fund, and the Fund board of trustees.
Johnson is suing them for breach of contract, violation of the U.S. and CNMI constitutions, violation of due process, deprivation of rights, breach of fiduciary duty, and unjust enrichment.
Johnson asked the U.S. District Court for the NMI to certify her lawsuit as a class action and appoint a federal equity receiver to manage the Fund.
She also asked the court to issue a creditor's bill in equity.
Johnson asked the court to order the Fund and the CNMI government to collect Superior Court associate judge Kenneth L. Govendo's judgment, pay, or bring current all CNMI obligations to the Fund, and distribute appropriate retirement benefits.
Attorneys Margery S. Bronster, Bruce L. Jorgensen, and Stephen C. Woodruff are counsels for Johnson.
According to the lawyers, this class action arises out of the CNMI's breach of its contractual and constitutional obligations to provide government employees “membership in an employee retirement system” in which their accrued benefits.shall neither be diminished nor impaired.”
At yesterday's hearing on the issue of Fund's trustee ad litem, the issue of federal equity receiver was also discussed. Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood directed the parties to file briefings about the issue.