Superior Court Associate Judge David A. Wiseman was upset yesterday over a 75-minute wait for a lawyer and set a new hearing date in Gov. Benigno R. Fitial's motion to dismiss a lawsuit that questioned the legality of a $190.8-million power purchase agreement.
“The court must reiterate a longstanding policy of the Superior Court, and in particular, of this court of not allowing attorneys, either arbitrarily or collectively, to arrange, rearrange, or alter the court's schedule without the court's concurrence,” Wiseman said in an order.
He said that Ramon K. Quichocho, the lawyer representing the Senate and Reps. Janet U. Maratita (Ind-Saipan) and Ray N. Yumul (R-Saipan) was well aware that it had two major motion arguments at the same time that were set in advance.
He said that Quichocho had ample opportunity to make some type of arrangements, rather than a five-minute notice.
The short notice, Wiseman said, resulted in him, the parties in the lawsuit, and others involved in the case to wait for 75 minutes.
“Attorneys practicing before this court are placed on notice that the court will not tolerate such attempts to alter the court's schedule,” Wiseman stressed.
Fitial's motion to dismiss and the governor's official immunity issue were set yesterday at 1:30pm for oral argument.
A few minutes prior to the hearing to commence, Quichocho notified the court's clerk that he was double set in Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho's courtroom.
In his order yesterday afternoon, Wiseman said there was no previous notification to him, as is usual in such circumstance, in order that the parties may agree to another date or time and allow him to reschedule the matter.
“This was not done. The court waited until 2:45pm at which time defendants' requested to continue this matter to the original date of Oct. 25, 2012,” Wiseman said.
The judge granted the defendants' request, but will hear the motion instead on Oct. 18 at 1:30pm.
The Senate and Reps. Maratita and Yumul are suing Fitial, former attorney general Edward T. Buckingham, Commonwealth Utilities Corp., and Saipan Development LLC to stop the 25-year power purchase agreement.