Inmate seeks hearing in his previous lawsuit against DOC

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A Department of Corrections inmate wants the U.S District Court for the NMI to hold a hearing on his previous lawsuit against the department and its officials.

DOC inmate Price Shoiter, through attorney Michael Dotts, has asked the district court to schedule a hearing regarding his previous lawsuit against the department and its former and current officials.

Dotts requested the court to set a status conference for the purpose of determining if the defendants desire to proceed with the settlement agreement or if this matter should be placed back on calendar and scheduled for trial.

According to Dotts, the 74-year-old Shoiter executed a settlement agreement in this matter on Feb. 4, 2021, and the defendants all signed the settlement agreement by Feb. 11, 2021.

The settlement agreement was contingent on the governor’s approval of the plaintiff’s application for conditional clemency.

“If the governor did not grant the conditional clemency, then pursuant to Section 4.1.3 of the Settlement Agreement, the settlement was ‘null and void’ and the case was to be placed back on track for trial,” Dotts said.

As of Nov. 1, 2021, nearly nine months after the plaintiff signed the settlement agreement, conditional clemency had not been granted, Dotts stated.

“Under Section 7 of the settlement agreement…the defendants were to make a payment to the plaintiff before his departure from the CNMI on Aug. 31, 2021. Now it is Nov. 1, 2021, and no payment has been made. A status conference would greatly benefit all parties by allowing them to consider the court’s input on how to proceed with the case and, if necessary, placing the case back on calendar for a trial,” Dotts said.

According to court documents, Shoiter was serving a 10-year prison term for sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl, when he sued Corrections officials for breaching a previous settlement agreement. He alleged that Corrections officials had continued to deny him adequate medical care.

Shoiter sought reparations for general, consequential, compensatory, and punitive damages; and a declaration that the defendants’ actions violated his constitutional rights.

On Feb. 11, 2021, after receiving a notice of an agreement of dismissal from the parties, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona dismissed Shoiter’s complaint with prejudice.

In July 2021, the CNMI Parole Board recommended clemency for Shoiter, who is from Chuuk.

In his first amended complaint, Shoiter named as defendants former Corrections commissioner Vince S. Attao, directors Gregory Castro and Georgia Cabrera, and current Commissioner Wally Villagomez.

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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