Lawyer wants Hillbroom deposition in Vietnam, not Saipan


A former lawyer of Junior Larry Hillbroom who now lives in Vietnam wants Hillbroom’s counsel to take his deposition in Vietnam and not on Saipan.

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

Hillbroom has filed in federal court a legal malpractice lawsuit against his former lawyers, Barry J. Israel and David J. Lujan.

Israel said he is willing to have his deposition taken in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Israel is opposing Hillbroom’s motion to compel him to be deposed on Saipan. His opposition was filed last Saturday before the U.S. District Court for the NMI.

Israel said that having his deposition taken in Vietnam will avoid the difficulties and undue expense of travel and allow him to minimize the negative impact on his businesses in Vietnam.

The lawyer said he is 72 and that traveling internationally across different time zones at his age requires a minimum of two days upon arrival and upon return for him to eliminate the effects of jetlag.

“At my age, I am unable to conduct business affairs within 24 hours of arrival in a different time zone, as my mental and physical state no longer acclimatize that soon,” he said.

Israel said he would need more time to overcome jetlag and be prepared mentally and physically to proceed with a three-day deposition. He said going to Saipan would also increase his travel costs.

Israel said he owns several businesses in Vietnam for which he is responsible for the day to day operations.

He said traveling to Saipan would require at least nine days: two days to travel, two days to acclimatize, three days of deposition, and then two days to travel home.

“This would require me to shut down my businesses during such a trip as they cannot operate without my daily, hands-on involvement,” Israel said.

Israel said he established permanent residency in Vietnam in 2003 and married a Vietnamese citizen in 2007.

Israel said he is currently the chairman of a 100-percent foreign-owned company named Saigon Interiors in Vietnam and has providing financing to a number of other projects there.

“I have no business interests in the CNMI nor do I own any real property in the CNMI,” he said.

Theodore W. Frank, counsel for Israel, said for the District Court to order Israel to appear for deposition anywhere other than Vietnam would countenance “the audacious bravado, dilatoriness, and inexcusable neglect of Hillbroom and his counsel.”

Frank said if the court orders Israel 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 Hillblom.

Hillbroom’s 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

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