Court junks case filed vs newspapers
The U.S. District Court for the NMI has dismissed the lawsuit filed by a man against local newspapers, the Department of Public Safety, and the CNMI government for defamation, slander, and violation of his constitutional rights.
Chief Judge Ramona Manglona dismissed with prejudice the lawsuit filed by Brandon M. Rangamar, a man accused of looking through a bathroom window while a woman was taking a shower. Dismissal with prejudice means the suit cannot be refiled.
According to Manglona’s order that she issued Thursday, back on Jan. 28, 2022—over six months ago—upon screening Rangamar’s pro se application to proceed in forma pauperis, or without paying court costs, the court dismissed the complaint but granted him leave to amend to assert a defamation claim.
In doing so, the court directed Rangamar to file his first amended complaint no later than Feb. 28, 2022, if he still wishes to pursue his claim, and warned Rangamar that failure to file any amended complaint by this deadline would result in the court dismissing the action with prejudice and directing closure of the case.
“To date, the court has not received any first amended complaint or any other filings from Rangamar. It is well settled [by the Ninth] Circuit [Court] that a district court has power to dismiss an action for want of prosecution on its own motion, both under Rule 41(b), and under its local rule, or even in the absence of such rule. Accordingly, the court dismissed this action with prejudice,” Manglona stated.
Rangamar, 48, filed his lawsuit with the District Court for the NMI against the CNMI government, DPS, Saipan Tribune, and Marianas Variety following the publication of his mugshot and details of his ongoing case.
According to the lawsuit, Rangamar claims that the publication of the case against him caused him and his family stress, embarrassment, and loss of possible employment.He took issue with the CNMI government allowing the publication of “damaging information” of crimes still pending court proceedings. “The CNMI government permits a law that any worldwide or local entity to broadly publish damaging detailed information of crimes still pending court proceedings,” he said.
As for DPS, he sued DPS for allegedly publicly embarrassing him by releasing his photo and details about his case. “The CNMI police department publicly embarrassed me by posting my photo and damaging, detailed information of my alleged crime on Facebook on April 7, 2021,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rangamar sued Saipan Tribune and Marianas Variety for defamation and slander, for their published headlines.
The Saipan Tribune initially reported, based on a DPS news release, that Rangamar has been arrested in the early part of 2021 after a 911 caller reported seeing Rangamar looking through the bathroom window while she was taking a shower.