Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman has placed under advisement the alleged defective services of subpoenas on House Speaker Eliceo Cabrera and Commonwealth Utilities Corp. executive director Alan W. Fletcher.
Wiseman said he finds good cause to hold off or take off-calendar the subpoenas on Cabrera and Fletcher in relation to the lawsuit filed by Senate and Reps. Janet U. Maratita (Ind-Saipan) and Ray N. Yumul (R-Saipan).
Wiseman heard Tuesday the arguments in Cabrera's and CUC's motions to quash the subpoenas.
In a written order issued Wednesday, the judge reiterated that he wants to first hear Gov. Benigno R. Fitial's motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Senate, Maratita, and Yumul prior to allowing pre-answer discovery to proceed.
Wiseman noted that Cabrera also raised his constitutional immunity from complying with the subpoena.
Wiseman said the Senate, Maratita, and Yumul may file their opposition to Cabrera's position on or before Oct. 19, 2012.
Cabrera and CUC have asked the Superior Court to quash the notice of deposition and the accompanying subpoena sent them by the Senate, Maratita, and Yumul in connection with the lawsuit over the $190-million power purchase agreement.
Matthew T. Gregory, counsel for Cabrera, argued that Fitial and his co-defendants 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.
With respect to 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 power to allow the Judiciary to intrude on the impeachment proceedings of the House of Representatives.
“Certainly, 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 also asked the court to issue a protective order that prevents the deposition of Fletcher from going forward before pre-answer matters have been decided and a scheduling order is entered in this case.
Fisher said the service of the subpoena on Fletcher was defective as no witness fee was tendered.
Fisher said CUC is formulating a response to the lawsuit and, in addition, 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 Senate, Maratita, and Yumul are suing Fitial, former attorney general Edward Buckingham, the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., and Saipan Development LLC. They are asking the court to declare the 25-year power purchase agreement declared “unconstitutional, illegal, unconscionable, and unjust, and therefore, cancelled.”
Wiseman had issued a preliminary injunction that prohibit Fitial and co-defendants from pursuing all agreements associated or related to the $190.8-million power purchase agreement.