Federal jurors unanimously favored the MUFG Union Bank yesterday in Derron Gerard Flores’ lawsuit to collect a $200,000 time certificate of deposit that his late father had purchased from the bank in 1993.
The seven jurors found that Donald Flores and Union Bank did enter into a contract. The jurors, however, determined that Derron Flores failed to prove that Union Bank breached the contract by failing to do something that the contract had required it to do without a valid excuse.
Juan T. Lizama, counsel for Derron Flores, later found the verdict surprising, adding that they are looking into whether to appeal.
For sure, Lizama said, they are going to appeal Derron Flores’ claim for consumer protection violation.
Lizama said they were limited to that breach of contract claim because the U.S. District Court for the NMI dismissed the consumer protection claim following the death of Flores’ father, former Saipan mayor Donald Flores.
“To not press charge on the consumer protection violation, I think, restricts the plaintiff to enlarge his argument,” he said.
“It’s sad because two people died and they didn’t enjoy their money,” Lizama said. “Mr. Donald Flores was a decent man, he’s not going to go and take his money twice.”
Attorneys Sean Frink and Catherine Cachero, counsel for Union Bank, were not available for comment yesterday.
Donald Flores filed the lawsuit in 2011. When he died in June 2014, his wife, Cecilia, was appointed administratrix of his estate. Cecilia, however, also died in September 2015. Their son, Derron Flores, continued the lawsuit as administrator of Donald Flores’ estate.
The lawsuit seeks to collect from MUFG Union Bank the principal and interest on the $200,000 32-day TCD 24 years after Donald Flores took it out at Union Bank on Saipan in 1993.
Flores claimed damages is for the $200,000 TCD principal, plus $438 for the 2.5 percent interest on the principal for the 32-day time period, for a total of $200,438.
Union Bank did not see any damages.
Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona, who presided over the trial, recently ruled that Flores may seek prejudgment interest on any damages that may be awarded in the trial.
Donald Flores purchased from Union Bank’s Oleai Branch a 32-day maturing $200,000 TCD on Sept. 10, 1993. Lourdes Deleon Guerrero, an employee of Union Bank at that time, assisted Donald Flores in purchasing the TCD on Sept. 10, 1993. Deleon Guerrero signed the TCD on behalf of the bank.
Donald and his wife, Cecilia, left Saipan for Huntington Beach, California within a few days after.
In 2001, Union Bank sold its CNMI and Guam assets and liabilities to First Hawaiian Bank and stopped doing business in the CNMI.
On June 10 and Sept. 1, 2008, Donald Flores, through a prior attorney, wrote to Union Bank in California, stating that he had the original TCD and asked the bank to redeem it.
On Sept. 22, 2008, Union Bank, through its office in California, responded that it has no record of the TCD and thus could not redeem it.