AG certifies then-DFEMS chief Norita was acting within scope of employment

Posted on Aug 19 2020


Attorney General Edward Manibusan certified Monday that Claudio K. Norita was acting within the scope of his employment as then-commissioner of the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services when the allegations arose in connection with a lawsuit filed by a company that is engaged in the installation of a fire sprinkler system.

Manibusan informed the U.S. District Court for the NMI that the Commonwealth shall be substituted for Norita as a defendant in the lawsuit filed by Double A Corp.

The OAG did not provide other details in the certification.

Double A Corp. filed the lawsuit in March 2019 against Norita and then-DFEMS fire inspector Anthony Babauta for allegedly causing it to lose $410,150 when they refused to accept its permit application. Double A Corp., through counsel Joseph E. Horey, are suing Norita and Babauta for deprivation of property without due process. Double A is demanding unspecified damages, court costs, and attorney’s fees.

Double A specializes in installing fire sprinkler system and fire suppression.

According to Horey in the complaint, Double A, which had won a contract to install a fire sprinkler system in a complex of buildings operated by Proper Grand CNMI LLC, known as Sugar King Dormitory, had applied for a permit to install the sprinkler system, but Babauta allegedly refused to accept the application.

Horey said Double A appealed Babauta’s refusal to Norita but the commissioner also refused to accept any permit application from Double A and failed to state the reasons for his rejection of the application.

Horey said the failed contract was for a price of $410,150.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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