House Speaker Eli Cabrera and the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. have asked the Superior Court to quash the notice of deposition and the accompanying subpoena sent them by Reps. Janet U. Maratita (Ind-Saipan) and Ray Anthony N. Yumul (R-Saipan) in connection with their lawsuit over the $190.8-million power purchase agreement.
Associate Judge David A. Wiseman on Tuesday refused to rule on the deposition issue at this time, holding it in abeyance until a motion to dismiss the lawsuit is resolved.
Matthew T. Gregory, counsel for Cabrera, argued that Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and his co-defendants in the case have a pending motion to dismiss and that no answer has been filed.
“Discovery, therefore, is premature and should not be permitted absent concerns relating to the health and future of the speaker,” said Gregory in Cabrera's memorandum in support of the motion to quash.
As for the service of subpoena, Gregory said it was defective as no witness fee was tendered.
He said the court should not permit the abuse of subpoena powers to allow the Judiciary to intrude upon the impeachment proceedings of the House of Representatives.
“Deposing the speaker of the House is merely an attempt to influence the proceedings regarding House Resolution 17-111,” Gregory said.
CUC legal counsel Deborah E. Fisher asked the court to issue a protective order that prevents the deposition of CUC executive director Alan W. Fletcher from going forward before pre-answer matters have been decided and a scheduling order is entered in this case.
Fisher said CUC is formulating a response to the lawsuit and that there will be a hearing on the government's motion to dismiss on Oct. 11.
“Trying to prepare for a deposition at this time will interfere with CUC formulating its response to the lawsuit,” Fisher added.
The palintiffs' lawyer, Ramon K. Quichocho, has yet to reply to Cabrera's and CUC's motion to quash.
The Senate and Reps. Maratita and Yumul are suing Fitial, former attorney general Edward Buckingham, Commonwealth Utilities Corp., and Saipan Development LLC. The plaintiffs asked the court to declare that the 25-year power purchase agreement “unconstitutional, illegal, unconscionable, and unjust, and therefore, cancelled.”