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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Johnson’s counsels given until Jan. 22 to file unified petition for fees

A settlement agreement has yet to be reached in Betty Johnson’s petitions for multi-million-dollar payments for attorneys’ fees and costs and discussions are continuing.

At a telephone conference yesterday morning, the parties in Johnson’s class action informed U.S. District Court for the NMI designated judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood that they continue to be in discussions on the attorneys’ fees and costs issue.

According to the minutes of the conference, Tydingco-Gatewood discussed with the parties the submission of a “unified” attorneys’ fees petition.

The judge gave Johnson’s counsels no later than Jan. 22, 2014, to submit a unified petition. A telephone status conference will be held on the following day, Jan. 23.

Tydingco-Gatewood allowed the CNMI government to file its response no later than Jan. 27, 2014. Another telephone status conference will be held the following day, Jan. 28.

The judge set an evidentiary hearing on the petition for fees on Jan. 31, 2014.

In an order issued Friday, Tydingco-Gatewood told the parties’ counsels that they should be prepared to advise the court whether they have reached a resolution of their petitions for attorneys’ fees.

The parties’ counsels reportedly conducted a two-day settlement talks before Hawaii chief bankruptcy judge Robert Faris on Monday and Tuesday.

Johnson’s original counsel, Bruce Jorgensen, is demanding at least $18.6 million. Her other counsels: Bronster Hoshibata is seeking $17.5 million; Timothy Lord is asking for either $3.6 million or $5.9 million; and Stephen Woodruff is requesting for $2.9 million.

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