Court sanctions Hillbroom for not appearing at conference

Hillbroom’s counsel cites flight problems for not coming

The federal court has sanctioned Junior Larry Hillbroom for failing to attend a settlement conference in connection with his lawsuit against his two former lawyers.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather L. Kennedy found Friday that there were no sufficient reasons provided for Hillbroom’s failure to appear.

Kennedy ordered Hillbroom to pay reasonable costs to his former lawyers, David J. Lujan and Barry J. Israel, for their travel expenses to attend the settlement conference.

Kennedy, however, denied Lujan’s and Israel’s request to hold Hillbroom liable to pay for their attorney’s fees.

At the hearing, attorney Mark Hanson appeared on behalf of his client, Hillbroom.

He explained that he was able to speak with Hillbroom and that the latter twice attempted to travel to Saipan but had to return back to Palau due to flight problems.

Kennedy asked Hanson if he has any documentation regarding both flights. Hanson stated he did not have time to obtain any documentation.

Attorney Victorino Torres appeared on behalf of Lujan and Israel.

Torres stated that Israel had travelled all the way from Vietnam and Lujan had to postpone a trial in Guam just to be present for the settlement conference.

Torres asked the court to award his clients costs and attorney’s fees.

Kennedy ordered Hillbroom to appear for Friday’s hearing to explain why he should not be sanctioned for not showing up at the settlement conference last Sept. 14.

The conference was set in connection with Hillbroom’s lawsuit against his previous lawyers, Lujan and Israel, for allegedly conspiring with a former trustee to inflate the attorney’s contingency fee when late business tycoon Larry Hillblom’s fortune was still undergoing probate proceedings.

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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