OAG wants IPI v CCC case in federal court

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Posted on Jul 24 2019

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The Office of the Attorney General, representing the Commonwealth Casino Commission, wants the lawsuit that Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC filed against the commission moved to the U.S. District Court for the NMI, believing that the federal court has original jurisdiction over the matter.

Assistant attorney general Benjamin Petersburg filed the notice of removal yesterday, removing the matter from the Superior Court, where IPI had initially filed the petition for a preliminary injunction, to the District Court.

IPI lawyer Viola Alepuyo pointed out that Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth Govendo is already scheduled to release an order on the preliminary injunction this Thursday, so she was confused when she was served a copy of the notice to move the case yesterday.

“IPI was looking forward to Judge Govendo’s decision in this case,” she said.

She believes that removing the case to the federal court would mean that IPI will essentially be starting all over again in presenting its case, citing the numerous hearings, witness testimony and hundreds of pages of filings that Govendo has been reviewing.

In Petersburg’s notice, he stated that the District Court has original jurisdiction over the matter under 28 U.S.C because the complaint alleges a civil rights violation pursuant to 42 U.S.C.

The civil rights violation pursuant to 42 U.S.C. was asserted in Grand Marianas (CNMI), LLC and Imperial Pacific Properties’ complaint in intervention.

Petersburg also stated that the District Court has jurisdiction over the claims arising under the Commonwealth Constitution pursuant to 28 U.S.C.

Petersburg pointed out that the OAG satisfies all the requirements to file a notice of removal since the notice is being filed in a timely manner—within 30 days of receipt of a copy of the initial pleading setting forth the claim for relief, and within 30 days since they were served a copy of the complaint in intervention and summons.

On June 24, an action was started in the Superior Court titled Imperial Pacific International (CNMI), LLC v. Commonwealth Casino Commission.

On July 1, Grand Marianas (CNMI), LLC and Imperial Pacific Properties filed a stipulated motion to intervene, which was granted the same day.

On July 12, Grand Marianas (CNMI), LLC and Imperial Pacific Properties filed their complaint in intervention.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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