The Office of the Attorney General has told the U.S. District Court for the NMI that an inmate’s lawsuit against the Department of Corrections should be dismissed because the DOC did not violate his equal protection rights.
In addition, Price Shoiter’s lawsuit lacks jurisdiction and fails to state a claim, according to assistant attorney general Leslie A. Healer’s motion to dismiss.
She said that Shoiter, who is serving a 10-year sentence for sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl, did not state that any defendant advised him that he couldn’t be medically referred since he is a Chuukese national. In fact, Healer said, it was Shoiter who stated that it was the Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems Inc. that advised him that.
Shoiter has not shown evidence of discriminatory intent or that anyone else was denied a referral due to ethnicity, Healer added.
In this lawsuit, Shoiter has accused current and former DOC officials of breaching a settlement agreement approved by the District Court for the NMI, to which he is a participant. The defendants are former Corrections commissioner Vince S. Attao, Corrections directors Gregory Castro and Georgia Cabrera, and current Corrections commissioner Wally Villagomez.
The settlement agreement that’s mentioned in Shoiter’s lawsuit involved him and 13 other inmates who sued Corrections in June 2018. They alleged that Corrections failed to provide adequate medical care, mental health care, dental care, and eye care to persons in DOC custody. The lawsuit sought remedies such as the development, on DOC’s part, of a plan to eliminate the harm the prisoners suffer due to inadequate medical care, mental health care, dental care, and eye care.
Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona dismissed the lawsuit on Aug. 22, 2019, but retained jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the settlement.
In his latest complaint, Shoiter alleged that DOC continues to deny him adequate medical care. Shoiter was 69 years old when he was sentenced in September 2016. He said in July 2019, he was admitted to the hospital due to chest pain. A doctor recommended for him to see a cardiologist, but Shoiter was told that he could not be referred because he is a Chuukese national.