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.