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Former detainee drops suit against DOC

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A former Department of Corrections pretrial detainee dropped his lawsuit against CNMI Department of Corrections officials.

Clifford Jack Palacios pulled his lawsuit from the U.S. District Court for the NMI last week and informed the court he would no longer be pursuing his complaint.

District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice, which means Palacios can still refile the complaint in the future.

Palacios had sued DOC officials for failure to provide medical care, failure to protect, failure to maintain safe premises, and failure to investigate.

Back in June, Manglona found Palacios’ complaint deficient but allowed him to refile it by July 28.

She said some of Palacios’ claims seemed cognizable, but the complaint itself was deficient because Palacios did not indicate whether he is suing the Corrections officials named in the complaint in their personal or official capacities, nor did he identify the specific remedy he is asking for.

On June 17, Palacios wrote to the court that he had been released from Corrections and indicated that he intended to add new factual allegations to his complaint.

The judge told him that he could file his amended complaint by Aug. 6. The deadline passed without the court receiving anything from Palacios so he was directed to appear in person at a show-cause hearing last week. At the hearing, he said he did not wish to pursue the civil action.

In his lawsuit, Palacios named as defendants the Department of Corrections, Corrections Commissioner Wally Villagomez, Corrections officials and officers Georgia Cabrera, Kelvin Semena, Damian De Leon Guerrero, Patrick Dowai, and two unnamed Corrections officers.

Palacios said he sustained a head injury when another inmate threw a water bottle at him last January.

Palacios was arrested in November 2019 after he was accused of making 36 transactions amounting to $15,614 through Western Union using his employer’s debit card.

The Attorney General’s Office charged Palacios with 36 counts of misuse of financial instruments. The case remains pending in the Superior Court.

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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