The federal court has denied attorney Barry J. Israel’s request to impose sanctions on his former client, Junior Larry Hillbroom, for allegedly refusing to comply with a court’s order by filing a redacted copy of the Republic of Palau court’s release order for Hillbroom.
U.S. District Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather L. Kennedy in an order issued on Thursday said the redacted filing complied with her April 27, 2016, order to provide information regarding Hillbroom’s release condition and that she will not impose sanctions.
Kennedy said the redacted version of the release order section 3 provides that Hillbroom “shall not travel outside the Republic of Palau without approval of the court.”
Kennedy said the provisions of the release order redacted by Hillbroom address the amount of bail, contact with alleged victims and witnesses, and the submission to drug testing.
The magistrate judge pointed out that while she agreed with Israel that this information is not privileged, private, or sensitive, she finds that the redacted provisions do not relate to Hillbroom’s ability to travel outside of Palau.
According to court documents, during a status conference last April 27 in Hillbroom’s lawsuit against his former counsel Israel and David J. Lujan regarding Hillbroom’s ability to continue to pursue this lawsuit and be deposed following his arrest in Palau on drug charges, the federal court ordered Hillbroom’s counsel to provide information regarding his release conditions and trial date in Palau.
Hillbroom, through counsel, filed a status report last May 18 and a redacted version of his release order in Palau’s criminal case.
Israel’s counsel requested an unredacted copy of the release order, but Hillbroom refused to comply.
At the June 9, 2016 telephonic conference in federal court, the judge addressed concerns about the redacted release order and the status of discovery and depositions.
Israel argued that Hillbroom was ordered by the court to provide the release order and the redactions did not contain privileged or private matters.
Hillbroom, through counsel, argued that the redacted information was irrelevant to this case and that his release conditions had been provided as the court ordered.
During that conference, Hillbroom acknowledged that the release order was a public document. Kennedy then ordered Hillbroom to file an unredacted copy of the release order. Israel then moved for sanctions.
The purpose of Kennedy’s April 27 order was to determine Hillbroom’s ability to participate in discovery and pursue his lawsuit to meet the scheduled trial date of Feb. 22, 2017.
The primary issue was whether Hillbroom was allowed to travel outside of Palau.
At the April proceeding, Kennedy ordered Hillbroom’s counsel to submit a report that will provide information regarding Hillbroom’s release conditions and trial date in the Palau case by May 18, 2016.
The Supreme Court of the Republic of Palau Trial Division has allowed the temporary release of Junior Larry Hillbroom upon posting a cash bail of $275,000 and required him to provide a copy of any notice of deposition, hearing or other court-required appearance for his lawsuits in the CNMI and other jurisdictions.
Last April 20, Palau Trial Division Associate Justice Lourdes Materne granted Hillbroom’s temporary release upon posting $275,000 cash bail subject to conditions, including a sign of waiver of extradition and no travel outside Palau without court’s approval.
Last June 7, Associate Justice Materne also granted Hillbroom’s motion for modification of his conditions of release.
Materne required Hillbroom to submit to the court with his applications a copy of any notice of deposition, hearing or other court-required appearance for his lawsuits in the NMI, Hawaii, and California.
Hillbroom, one of the four DNA-proven children of the late business tycoon and DHL co-founder Larry Lee Hillblom, was recaptured in Palau hours after he allegedly escaped from police’s custody last Feb. 19, just a few days after he was arrested over the seizure of $160,000 worth of 160 grams of methamphetamine or “ice.”
Hillbroom, 31, was recaptured after he allegedly dove into the water and tried to swim when police tracked a vehicle at a dock in a town called Meyuns Hamlet in Palau before, according to news reports.
Hillbroom pleaded not guilty.
Hillbroom was first served with an arrest warrant for trafficking controlled substance charge when he arrived in Palau from Manila last Feb. 17, according to a press release by Palau’s Ministry of Justice.
Combined efforts of the Bureau of Public Safety, the Division of Customs, and the Belau Drug Enforcement Task Force led to Hillbroom’s arrest at the Palau International Airport.
The arrest of Hillbroom came after two women who arrived from Manila last Feb. 12 were allegedly found concealing 160 grams of “ice.”
Further investigation indicated that Hillbroom was the alleged supplier of the seized “ice.”
Hillbroom’s mother, Kaela-ni Kinney, is a Palauan. Hillbroom is based in the U.S. mainland.
Hillbroom’s name is spelled differently from DHL co-founder Larry Hillblom.
Hillbroom has filed a legal malpractice lawsuit against his former lawyers Lujan and Israel in federal court.
Lujan was the lead counsel in Hillbroom’s successful legal battle in CNMI Superior Court to claim part of Hillblom’s multi-million estate.
Hillbroom is suing Lujan and Israel for allegedly conspiring with former trustee to inflate the attorney’s contingency fee when Hillblom’s fortune was still undergoing probate proceedings in Superior Court.
Hillblom, founder of DHL Express, died in a plane crash off Anatahan waters in 1995. His body was never recovered.
Approximately $100 million in assets were distributed to Hillbroom in the settlement of the probate case for Hillblom estate.