Manglona recuses self from wrongful death suit


U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has recused herself from presiding over a wrongful death lawsuit filed by a Washington-based widow over the death of her 65-year-old husband, who went missing after scuba diving with three other persons at the Grotto in 2018.

Manglona disqualified herself from the case as Harry Blalock, who is among the defendants in the lawsuit, was also her scuba diving instructor.

Manglona said the case is reassigned to District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood.

Madelyn Jones is suing Axe Murderer Tours LLC and its owner, Blalock, Green Flash LLC and its owner, Joe McDoulett, Professional Association of Dive Instructors Worldwide Corp., and PADI America’s Inc.

Jones, through counsel William M. Fitzerald, is suing the defendants for negligence-wrongful death and for breach of Consumer Protection Act. She is also suing PADI Worldwide and PADI Americas for negligence and vicarious liability.

Jones is suing for over $75,000 in damages, plus attorney’s fees and court costs.

McDoulett, who is a lawyer and a former Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent, refused to comment about the lawsuit yesterday. Blalock also has no comment.

According to Fitzgerald in the complaint, the incident happened at the Grotto Dive Site in Marpi Nov. 18, 2018.

Authorities searched for John Jones for several days. The search was suspended on Nov. 24, 2018. He was never found. The Superior Court issued a presumptive death certificate on March 22, 2019, with a date of death of Nov. 18, 2018.

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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