Hearing on motion to dismiss E-Land’s suit is pushed back

Share

The hearing on the motion filed by the Department of Public Land to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Mariana E-Land Corp. regarding the cancellation of their lease agreement has been pushed back another two months.

The Superior Court has moved the scheduled hearing on the DPL’s motion to dismiss from Oct. 12, 2021, to Jan. 18, 2022, at 2:30pm before Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho.

John Lowrey, OAG civil division chief and counsel to DPL, filed a motion last month asking the Superior Court to dismiss with prejudice E-Land’s lawsuit for failure to state a claim. To dismiss a case with prejudice means the case will be permanently dismissed and cannot be filed again.

“E-Land has failed to state a claim for relief for all causes of action, and its complaint should be dismissed with prejudice and without leave to amend, because any amendment would be futile,” Lowrey said.

In addition, he said DPL lawfully rescinded the notice of award because the proposed lease did not comply with DPL regulations.

“Because DPL’s decision to rescind the notice of award to E-Land was lawful and required by regulations, E-Land cannot prevail on its claim for injunctive relief,” Lowrey said.

In his motion, Lowrey explained that E-Land never formed a contract with DPL regarding the RFP, and any lease agreement would need to be approved by the attorney general and Legislature before it could take effect.

Lowrey added that a lease that does not comply with DPL’s regulations is void and must be rejected as outside of DPL’s legal capacity. Had the attorney general not rejected the lease, it would still have been void, Lowrey added.

“Even if the attorney general did not reject the lease, and DPL did not rescind the notice of award to E-Land, DPL could not agree to E-Land’s suggested changes to the lease and the parties would not have been able to execute a final lease. Assuming that DPL accepted E-Land’s suggested changes, the attorney general did not reject the lease, and the lease was not yet discovered to be void ab initio for failure to comply with DPL’s regulations, the CNMI Legislature would still have to approve the lease. Per Commonwealth law, DPL ‘may not transfer an interest in more than five hectares of public land for use for commercial purposes without approval of the Legislature in a joint session,’” Lowrey said.

Last month, E-Land, owner and operator of Kensington Hotel Saipan, Coral Ocean Golf Resort, and Pacific Islands Club, filed a suit against DPL and DPL Secretary Sixto Igisomar in his official capacity for the cancellation of the Mariana Resort property lease agreement.

In its suit, E-Land requested the court issue a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to prevent DPL and/or Igisomar from reissuing RFP20-RED004 until such time that the court has ruled on E-Land’s complaint.

Last month, following a stipulation from E-Land and DPL, Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho issued a preliminary injunction preventing DPL from reissuing RFP-RED004 pending a determination of the merits of the plaintiff’s complaint that was filed on July 13.

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.
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.