U.S. District Court for the NMI designated judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood wants to know if Jesus I. Taisague is still interested in pursuing his lawsuit against Gov. Eloy S. Inos, the CNMI government, Department of Finance, and the NMI Retirement Fund for entering into a settlement agreement with Betty Johnson.
In that lawsuit, which Taisague filed in 2013, he claims that the settlement agreement is unconstitutional and illegal.
Tydingco-Gatewood said Taisague, through counsel Ramon Quichocho, initiated the lawsuit on Oct. 17, 2013. There has been no action on the matter for almost one year.
The judge ordered Taisague and the parties in the lawsuit to file a joint status report that addresses the question whether he is still interested in pursuing the case.
Tydingco-Gatewood said that, on Nov. 13, 2014, the CNMI Supreme Court issued its opinion answering the questions certified to it by this court.
Tydingco-Gatewood directed the parties to explain what effect, if any, does the high court’s opinion have on count 2 of Taisague’s first amended complaint, which asserts a violation of the contracts clause of the NMI Constitution.
The judge asked the parties if they are interested in participating in a settlement conference.
She wants the parties to file the joint status report by Nov. 6, 2015.
In December 2013, Tydingco-Gatewood denied Taisague’s motion that seeks an order enjoining Inos and the CNMI government from withholding or failing to pay 100 percent of his pension benefits.
Tydingco-Gatewood said unlike a wrongfully terminated employee, whose injury is the loss of all income and health insurance, Taisague’s injury is the deferment of no more than 25 percent of his income (pension payments)—without any loss of his health insurance coverage.
Taisague is among the 16 persons who opted out of the Johnson settlement agreement.