Judge orders deposition of ex-Hillbroom lawyer in Guam


U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona ordered yesterday that the deposition of a former lawyer of Junior Larry Hillbroom—who now lives in Vietnam—will be in Guam.

Deposition refers to the taking of testimony of a witness outside of court.

In granting Hillbroom’s request to require the deposition of Barry J. Israel, Manglona required Hillbroom to pay for Israel’s travel.

At the hearing yesterday, Manglona asked Theodore Frank, counsel for Israel, if he is aware of any actual deposition similarly conducted in Vietnam.

According to the minutes of the hearing, Frank stated he did not do the research and that it was not their burden to find out what could be done in Vietnam.

Nelson Werner, one of three counsels for Hillbroom, clarified that if it was the court’s position that their client should pay for the cost of Israel’s appearance for his deposition.

He said this offer was made to Israel back in September 2017 and was rejected. Werner said they could agree to pay reasonable costs.

Theodore Frank, one of two counsels for Israel, asked for an update on the status of Hillbroom’s criminal case in Palau.

Rachel Demitruk, another counsel for Hillbroom, disclosed that their client is currently in prison in Palau and they are looking at off-island facilities for his drug treatment.

On further court hearings, Demitruk said the defense presented this issue to the Attorney General in Palau for review and they had asked the Palau Court to set the date to hear the matter.

Demitruk added that it is in the AG’s hands now.

Werner said Hillbroom will definitely be going to a treatment program and he will be able to complete the program in eight months.

At yesterday’s hearing, all parties, except Hillbroom’s other counsel, Mark Hanson, appeared by telephone.

Hillbroom is suing his former lawyers, Israel and David J. Lujan, for alleged legal malpractice.

Hillbroom then filed a motion to compel Israel to be deposed on Saipan or Guam. But Israel said he is willing to have his deposition taken in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He said this will avoid the difficulties and undue expenses of travel and allow him to minimize the negative impact on his businesses in Vietnam.

Frank said if the court orders Israel to travel to appear for deposition outside Vietnam, the court should order Hillbroom to pay for Israel’s travel costs of $4,232 or more.

Hillbroom is suing Israel and Lujan for allegedly conspiring with a former trustee to inflate the attorney’s contingency fee when the fortune of the late business tycoon and DHL co-founder Larry Lee Hillblom was still undergoing probate proceedings in Superior Court.

Hillbroom is one of the four DNA-proven children of Hillbroom. His name is spelled differently from Hillblom.

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 ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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