IPI subsidiaries now want District Court to hear case

Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC’s subsidiaries—Grand Marianas (CNMI) LLC and Imperial Pacific Properties LLC—now want the U.S. District Court for the NMI to hear their claims in connection with IPI’s lawsuit against the Commonwealth Casino Commission.

Grand Marianas and Imperial Pacific Properties, through counsel Braddock J. Huesman, filed notice yesterday informing the District Court that they are withdrawing their notice that asks the federal court to abstain from handling the case.

Huesman also informed the District Court that they are also withdrawing their motion to return the case to the CNMI Superior Court.

Huesman said his clients now submit to the District Court’s jurisdiction.

The subsidiaries earlier argued that the District Court should either return the case to the Superior Court or abstain from exercising its jurisdiction.

Last Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit temporarily prohibited CCC from disclosing IPI’s confidential income tax information that is the subject of a legal dispute.

In their order, Ninth Circuit judges A. Wallace Tashima and Milan D. Smith Jr. temporarily stayed or suspended the order of U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona that denied the petition for a preliminary injunction being sought by IPI and its two subsidiaries.

The Ninth Circuit issued the order after IPI filed an emergency motion to ask the appellate court to stay Manglona’s order while its appeal is pending.

The Ninth Circuit judges ordered that CCC is temporarily enjoined from disclosing the confidential income tax information that is the subject of dispute between IPI and CCC, pending resolution of the emergency motion.

In a 25-page decision last Aug. 6, Manglona ruled that IPI, Grand Marianas, and Imperial Pacific Properties have not met their burden for a preliminary injunction.

Manglona, however, declined to address at this time the motion to remand IPI’s lawsuit against CCC to the Superior Court, as the issues of abstention and supplemental jurisdiction raised in the motion will be further briefed and argued.

IPI and its subsidiaries have asked the federal court to prevent the disclosure of unredacted financial statements because, in their view, those statements contain confidential information protected from disclosure by provisions in the CNMI tax code and the Open Government Act, and by guarantees of privacy in the U.S. and Commonwealth Constitutions.

In order to obtain such protection, IPI filed a petition for preliminary injunction prohibiting CCC from releasing the unredacted financial statements while this case is pending.

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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