Israel’s claim stricken off record in Hillbroom’s case


The federal court has struck from the record Vietnam-based lawyer Barry J. Israel’s claim that he had obtained a 1998 order from the Guam Guardianship Court that removed Junior Larry Hillbroom’s mother, Kaelani Kinney, as his then-co-guardian.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona ruled that Israel did not obtain permission from the court to file his sur-reply.

Sur-reply refers to an additional response to a motion after the motion has already been briefed.

Manglona said Local Rule 7.1(c) allows for the filing of an opposition and reply to any motion filed in the District Court. However, the rule explicitly prohibits further filings without court’s permission, the judge said.

Manglona said she will not entertain any further filings from Israel or any other party relating to Israel’s motion for summary judgment.

Israel filed last Friday his sur-reply in support of his motion for summary judgment.

Hillbroom, through counsel, opposed the motion and asked that the sur-reply be stricken from the record.

In his sur-reply, Israel, through counsel Theodore R. Frank, said that a Dec. 23, 1998, court order that removed Kinney as co-guardian of Hillbroom is directly relevant of his (Israel) motion for summary judgment.

Frank noted that Hillbroom opposes Israel’s motion for summary judgment in part by asserting that Kinney, as his co-guardian, was not notified of the 56% retainer or the application for its approval to the Guam Guardianship Court.

Frank said that notifying Kinney was no longer required because at the time the application to approve the 56% retainer occurred, Sept. 6, 2001, Kinney had already been removed as Hillbroom’s co-guardian for almost three years.

In his lawsuit against his former lawyers Israel and David J. Lujan, Hillbroom alleges that the two, together with Hillbroom trustee Keith Waibel, conspired in 2001 to wrongfully increase their contingency fee when the estate of DHL co-founder Larry Hillblom was undergoing probate.

Frank disclosed that he became aware of the existence of the Guam Guardianship Court’s 1998 order only last week, Oct. 23, when he received an email from a lawyer who is a colleague of Lujan.

Hillbroom is suing Israel, Lujan, and Waibel, alleging mismanagement of approximately $90 million he inherited as heir of Larry Lee Hillblom, a co-founder and former owner of DHL Worldwide Express.

The jury trial in Hillbroom’s lawsuit is currently set for Nov. 19, 2019.

Hillbroom, a Palauan, is one of the four DNA-proven children of Hillblom. His name is spelled differently from that of Hillblom. The three other children are Jellian Cuartero, a Filipino; Mercedita Feliciano, a Filipino; and Nguyen Be Lory, a Vietnamese.

Hillblom died in a seaplane crash off Anatahan waters on a flight from Pagan to Saipan on May 21, 1995, leaving behind an estate worth approximately $550 million. The bodies of the pilot and a business partner were found, but Hillblom’s body was never recovered.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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