Bank, 2 ex-employees argue $40M lawsuit ‘extinguished’ with Cecilia Flores’ death


A bank and its former employees are asking the federal court to dismiss the $40-million lawsuit filed by Cecilia Flores against them considering that she already passed away.

MUFG Union Bank, Ken Kato, and Victoria B. Concepcion, through counsels Sean E. Frink and Marcia Schultz, asked the U.S. District Court for the NMI to deny a motion to substitute the son for Flores in the lawsuit.

Frink and Schultz said the claims of Flores in her lawsuit were extinguished when she passed away.

Frink and Schultz said Flores’ complaint alleges two fraud causes of action, both of which are clearly identified by Flores in the complaint as torts.

The lawyers said the CNMI Supreme Court has made clear that tort claims do not survive the death of an alleged tort victim.

Frink and Schultz said Flores’ claims therefore are “extinguishable” and the pending motion for substitution consequently may not be granted.

When Flores passed away, her counsel, Juan T. Lizama, filed a notice of death.

Lizama requested the court to substitute Flores’ son, Derron, as substitute plaintiff in the complaint.

The Superior Court approved Derron as personal representative and only beneficiary of Flores’ estate.

Flores died last Sept. 25. She was the appointed administratrix in the probate of the estate of late former Saipan mayor Donald Flores.

Cecilia Flores sued Union Bank of California and its former employees Borja Concepcion and Ken Kato over a bank manager’s alleged unauthorized release of Mr. Flores’ money years prior to his death from his $200,000 time certificate of deposit (CD) to a person representing him.

In 2011, Donald Flores, through counsel Lizama, filed a lawsuit in federal court against Union Bank of California and First Hawaiian Bank for allegedly refusing to return the principal and interest earned on the CD. Donald Flores passed away in June 2014. Cecilia Flores then substituted him as plaintiff.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently ruled that the claims of Donald Flores that a bank breached the contract and violated the Commonwealth Consumer Protection Act in connection with his alleged time certificate of deposit in the amount of $200,000 were timely filed in court and so may proceed.

The Ninth Circuit reversed the federal court’s ruling that the clock on Flores’ claims started to run in 1999 when he visited the bank, so his right to sue had expired by 2011 when he filed the lawsuit.

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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