Motion to dismiss suit vs DOC execs placed under advisement

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona placed under advisement yesterday a motion to dismiss inmate Reynaldo A. Manila’s lawsuit against former Department of Corrections Commissioner Robert Guerrero and two other DOC officials. Manila blames them for his left eye going blind.

Manglona said she will issue a written decision.

Assistant attorney general Hessel Yntema argued as counsel for Guerrero and DOC officials Jose K. Pangelinan and Georgia M. Cabrera.

Manila, who remains in the custody of the Department of Corrections, appeared without a lawyer via a telephone. He argued in opposition to defendants’ motion.

In defendants’ motion to dismiss, Yntema said the first claim against Guerrero and Pangilinan was filed after the two-year statute of limitations has already lapsed.

Yntema said the second claim, against Cabrera, fails to allege a serious harm that resulted from the alleged delay in the treatment of a cataract.

As this is Manila’s third amended complaint, Yntema asked the court dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice, which means Manila can no longer re-file the lawsuit.

Manglona recently granted Guerrero’s motion to dismiss the claims against him.

Manglona, however, allowed Manila to amend his lawsuit on when and how then-DOC Commissioner Guerrero found out about Manila’s need for retinal surgery, and any actions Guerrero may have taken.

Guerrero, who is currently the Department of Public Safety commissioner, was the DOC commissioner when Manila, an inmate, was diagnosed with retinal detachment in the left eye.

Manila sued Guerrero and DOC officials Cabrera and Pangelinan in their personal capacity for alleged violations his Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care.

Cabrera used to serve as DOC commissioner, while Pangelinan served as acting DOC commissioner when Guerrero was transferred to DPS. Cabrera and Pangelinan are still DOC officials.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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