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Court rules in favor of Joeten Motors in claims vs estate

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The Superior Court has ruled in favor of Joeten Motors Co. and denied the objection of the estate of Jesus Masga Dela Cruz relating to claims against the estate.

The administratrix, or caretaker, of the Dela Cruz estate objected to the claims made by Joeten Motors Co. against the estate, on the grounds that the claim is not supported by a final judgement, that the claim is barred by the statute of limitations, and that the claims is moot.

This comes soon after Joeten Motors submitted a notice of claim with the estate, pursuant to a vehicle debt that remains active even after Dela Cruz’s passing.

In his ruling last May 9, Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho stated that, because the claims are not barred or extinguished, the claims for interest and costs are not moot and are not denied.

The court found that the claims were supported by final judgments, as indicated in court docket cards. Also, citing rule 83(h) of the Northern Mariana Islands Rules of Civil Procedure, Camacho said this would make the collection of the debt proper.

The administratrix had argued that the summons from the court that was provided by Joeten Motors Co. was not a judgment, but because there was a judgment entered into docket cards back in 1994, the collection of the debt is proper, based on the Northern Mariana Islands Rules of Civil Procedure.

The court also found that because Joeten Motors provided evidence that the debt discussed in the judgment back 1994 has not been paid in full, the notice of claims is not barred by the 20-year deadline.

The administratrix had argued that Joeten Motors’ claims notice is time-barred according to Commonwealth statutes because the claims notice was filed 24 years after the small claims were decided.

However, the court said that because Joeten Motors took action to collect the judgment, or debt, any time before the 20-year deadline, then the claim is not time barred.

Joeten Motors filed a notice of claims back in 2018 against Dela Cruz, who passed away in 2015.

The notice of claims is pursuant to a court judgment of $2,748.22 that was determined back in 1994 due to a debt Dela Cruz owed Joeten Motors for the purchase of a vehicle.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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