The federal court has given inmate Reynaldo A. Manila until July 8 to amend his complaint or respond to the motions in connection with his lawsuit against Department of Corrections officials and officers.
At a telephonic status conference with the parties’ counsel last Friday, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona said Manila amending his complaint will render moot the pending motions filed by the defendants.
If an amended complaint is filed, defendants have 14 days to answer.
If, instead of an amended complaint, Manila files a response to the pending motions, defendants’ replies are due seven days after.
Manila, an inmate who claimed that he may be losing his vision due to the negligence of DOC, has already filed an amended complaint naming former DOC commissioner Georgia M. Cabrera, former DOC commissioner Robert Guerrero, and former acting DOC commissioner Jose K. Pangelinan as defendants.
Manila filed the amended complaint pro se (without a lawyer) following Manglona’s order.
There are three pending motions filed by the defendants.
Cabrera has asked the court to order Manila to clarify his lawsuit against her and other DOC officials and officers.
Cabrera, through assistant attorney general Hessel Yntema, said she is unable to form a responsive pleading to Manila’s complaint.
Cabrera is currently the director of DOC’s civil division.
DOC, through OAG Civil Division chief Christopher M. Timmons, also filed a motion to dismiss DOC from the case and replace it with the CNMI government.
Timmons also asked the court to dismiss the suit, asserting that the Commonwealth is entitled to sovereign immunity against suits for damages that are brought in federal court.
Manila has sought help from the District Court after his eye surgery at the Commonwealth Health Center last September was allegedly unsuccessful and that he is worried he is losing his vision.
Manila said the actions and inactions of DOC have resulted in his suffering from unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.
Manila, now 56 years old, has been serving 17 years of a 60-year prison term. The Superior Court sentenced him in June 2002 to 60 years in prison for second-degree murder over the death of his 6-month-old goddaughter.
A jury found Manila guilty of second-degree murder and child abuse.
Manila has insisted that he did not kill the child.