Govt told to pay Peter-Palican additional attorney’s fees

Posted on Apr 17 2012

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona issued an order yesterday that awarded additional attorney’s fees to Emerenciana Peter-Palican, who won in her lawsuit against the CNMI government for her termination in 2006 as special assistant for Women’s Affairs.

Manglona determined that Peter-Palican is entitled to $4,950 in attorney’s fees, on top of the $29,407.50 in costs and attorney’s fees the court previously awarded her.

The judge issued the order after Peter-Palican asked for an additional $4,950 in attorney’s fees to cover the cost of responding to the CNMI government’s post-trial motions.

On June 29, 2010, the court awarded the plaintiff $450 in costs and $29,407.50 in attorney’s fees as the prevailing party in the lawsuit.

Subsequently, the CNMI government filed a motion for a new trial and other relief. Peter-Palican opposed the motion.

On Sept. 1, 2010, the court denied the motion and vacated the hearing. Peter-Palican then filed the request for additional costs.

The plaintiff claimed she spent 22 hours in preparation to respond to post-trial motions and seeks compensation at the rate of $225 an hour.

In granting the request, Manglona determined that the billing record provides enough detail to assess the reasonableness of the time spent.

Manglona said the rate of $225 an hour has already been determined to be reasonable.

The court ordered the CNMI government in March 2010 to pay Peter-Palican $216,049.88 in back wages. The court also ordered the government and Gov. Benigno R. Fitial to re-appoint her within 30 days to a government position that has a salary to or greater than what she used to have.

The CNMI government and Fitial appealed.

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