CUC wants ex-CUC staff, lawyer held in contempt


The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. has asked the federal court to require former CUC staff Carlton Stevens and his attorney, Pamela Brown-Blackburn, to explain why they should not be held in contempt for failing to comply with the court’s decision and order.

CUC also requested the U.S. District Court for the NMI to dismiss Stevens’ third amended discrimination lawsuit against CUC and some of its officials pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

In its request for an order to show cause, CUC asked the court to give it more time to respond to Stevens’ third amended lawsuit until the motion for contempt is resolved.

In the lawsuit filed last week, Stevens named as defendants CUC and its officials—executive director Alan W. Fletcher, human resources director Francisco Cepeda, wastewater manager Richard Wasser, and wastewater and wastewater manager Paul Raczkowski.

Stevens is suing CUC and its top officials for alleged racial discrimination with respect to privileges of employment and retaliation and is demanding unspecified damages, court costs, and attorney’s fees.

Stevens asked the court to declare that the defendants’ discriminatory employment practices are in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Stevens, an African-American, is suing CUC and its four officials for allegedly not renewing his contract as direct responsible charge operator in CUC’s wastewater division, providing him an inoperable computer, and not providing him an office space, among other complaints.

Last Feb. 4, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona dismissed Stevens’ second amended discrimination lawsuit, but gave him a final chance to amend his complaint a third time.

Manglona granted CUC’s motion to dismiss Stevens’ second amended complaint for failure to adequately plead compliance with the statutory preconditions to bring a Title VII of the Civil Rights Act claim (discrimination).

In CUC’s motions for order to show cause and for dismissal of the third complaint, CUC counsel James S. Sirok asked the court to find Stevens and his lawyer in contempt for failing to comply with Manglona’s Feb. 4 order, which limited the amendment “to alleging facts and attaching documents that are relevant to the determination of whether Title VII’s filing deadlines and other exhaustion requirements have been met.”

Sirok said Manglona also noted that in the initial complaint and first amended complaint, Stevens sued four individuals in their personal capacities, and that she dismissed all claims against the four with prejudice.

Dismissed with prejudice means Stevens cannot re-open the claims again the four.

In the second amended complaint, however, Stevens changed the caption to name the four in their official capacity, which Sirok said “was beyond the scope of the leave to amend factual allegations that the court granted in the [first] order.”

Sirok pointed out that Manglona stated in her order that if Stevens wishes to amend his complaint, he must file a motion for leave to amend the pleading and the caption and show good cause why leave should be granted.

The CUC counsel said Stevens added numerous substantive factual allegations to the third amended complaint, which changed the nature of the complaint and went far beyond the restriction limiting amendments to allegations “relevant to the determination of whether Title VII’s filing deadlines and other exhaustion requirement have been met.”

In addition, Sirok said, Stevens’ third amended complaint continues to incorporate in its caption and its allegations the names of the four individuals as being sued in their “official” capacities without first requesting from the court permission to do so, and demonstrating good cause.

Sirok said Stevens deleted numerous allegations but added some 39 new substantive allegations, and made several other substantive amendments to the allegations in the second amended complaint.

Such amendments, he pointed out, go beyond the limitation ordered by the court and dramatically changes the nature and substance of the allegations previously made against CUC.

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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