Court suspends civil lawsuit proceedings for Art Man driver

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The Superior Court has granted Art Man Trash and Recycling’s request to temporarily suspend civil lawsuit proceedings while its co-defendant, the driver of one of the company’s vehicles that was involved in a fatal crash, is undergoing criminal proceedings.

Last Friday, Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio ordered a limited stay of proceedings in the civil lawsuit filed by Khorshed Alam, the personal representative of Raju Miah, one the victims in the fatal crash, and Rommel Irang against Art Man Trash and Recycling and Eduardo T. Fabia.

“The stay temporarily suspends all the civil proceedings until the resolution of the associated criminal case, except for discovery that is time-sensitive,” she said.

According court documents, the matter stems from the traffic accident back in February that led to the wrongful death, negligence, and vicarious liability civil claims at issue before the Superior Court, but that also led to an associated criminal case against one of the drivers, Fabia.

Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, Fabia’s counsel informed the Superior Court that the defendant would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights and privilege in this civil case. As a result, defendants moved to stay the civil proceedings, until the criminal case is resolved.

Neither party objected to a limited stay, as applied strictly to Fabia, to protect his Fifth Amendment rights.

“The issue before the Superior Court was whether a stay of proceedings should also be applied to…Art Man Environment Corp. The Superior Court analyzed the facts and circumstances of the case under the Ninth Circuit’s Keating standard, which provides five factors for courts to consider before ordering a stay of proceedings,” the order stated.

Fabia and his employer, Art Man, were named as defendants in the civil lawsuits of Khorshed Alam, personal representative of the late Raju Miah, and Rommel Irang.

On March 15, 2021, Irang filed a separate complaint alleging negligence against Fabia, and vicarious liability against Art Man.

On March 25, 2021, the court granted the stipulation to amend the case title to reflect both plaintiffs.

Fabia, 49, was the driver of the garbage compactor truck that collided with a Honda Ridgeline pickup truck at the Puerto Rico intersection on Feb. 1, 2021.

According to DPS, the two passengers in the pickup truck were on the bed of the Honda Ridgeline and were thrown out of the vehicle during the collision. Both were rushed to the hospital where one of them was pronounced dead on arrival. The other passenger was treated and admitted for serious injuries.

The pickup truck passenger who died was Raju Miah, while the other passenger, Rommel Irang, sustained serious injuries. The pickup’s driver/operator, Quin C. Manglona, was treated at the hospital and discharged.

Fabia was charged by the government with homicide by vehicle, traffic signal violations, speeding, and reckless driving.

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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