IN SUITS OVER LADDER BEACH PROPERTY

Investor seeks court’s approval of global settlement of claims

Investor Sin Nam Ho asked the federal court yesterday to approve a global settlement of claims in connection with lawsuits filed against disbarred lawyer Ramon K. Quichocho and his uncle, Joaquin Q. Atalig, over a lease of a Ladder Beach property.

Attorney Stephen J. Nutting, counsel for Nam, stated that with the consent of Nam and his other client, Toshin Group International Inc., he negotiated a global settlement of both the Nam lawsuit and Toshin’s lawsuit against Quichocho and Atalig.

Nutting said the settlement included the full payment of all sums due to Nam under the settlement agreement in the amount of $207,000, and a new 55-year lease to Toshin as well as all attorney’s fees in the amount of $70,000 incurred in prosecuting Toshin’s complaint.

Nutting said the money to be paid to Nam and himself as Toshin’s counsel was to be paid from the sale of a new 55-year lease to an investment group, of which he was a member.

The lawyer said at the time of the settlement in February 2015, he learned that Quichocho had quitclaimed his interest in the Nam property to Atalig, to allow him to settle the claims, which has been brought on against him, largely as a result of untenable legal advice he had received from Quichocho.

As a result, Nutting pointed out, Atalig executed a new lease for 55 years in favor of Nam and Toshin as a part of the global settlement reached.

Nutting said that, on Feb. 13, 2015, Nam, through his attorney in fact, Jung Ja Kim, signed a notice of satisfaction of judgment.

The federal court has found Quichocho and his wife liable to pay Kim $2.8 million in damages, costs, and attorney fees over her racketeering lawsuit.

Nutting said shortly after the settlement of Nam’s and Toshin’s cases, and the leases given to Nam and Toshin, Quichocho filed for bankruptcy in the State of Washington.

As a result, the lawyer said, of the well-known rule that all legal proceedings are stayed after bankruptcy has been filed, the notice of satisfaction of judgment and the settlement agreement in the Superior Court was not filed with either federal court.

Nutting said he was recently advised, however, by an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy practice, that because neither the notice of satisfaction of judgment, nor the settlement of the Superior Court proceeding asserts any claims against Quichocho, that the document may be filed and the case closed even though the bankruptcy proceedings remain ongoing.

Nutting asked the court to approve the settlement reached and accepts the notice of satisfaction of judgment and that the case be closed.

The Nam lawsuit was originally brought on as a result of defendants Quichocho and Atalig unilateral attempt to terminate Nam’s leasehold interest to certain real property in Ladder Beach.

The Toshin lawsuit was a similar case, where Quichocho and Atalig sought to unilaterally terminate a long-term pre-paid 55-year lease to Toshin and Shinji Fujie, which was immediately adjacent to the Nam property in Ladder Beach.

In 2014, Nam obtained a judgment against the defendants for failure to make payments due under a settlement agreement reached.

Toshin also obtained a partial summary judgment in Toshin’s favor, which vacated the termination notice issued by Quichocho and Atalig on Toshin’s Ladder Beach property. The CNMI Supreme Court affirmed the judgment in November 2014, according to court documents.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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