Parties in Hillbroom’s lawsuit want to complete mediation

Judge vacates scheduled Tuesday jury trial

Junior Larry Hillbroom and the parties in his lawsuit against his former two lawyers and former trustee have all agreed to put off a scheduled jury trial as they try to work out a mediation.

That prompted U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona to vacate the jury trial that was scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Manglona ordered the parties to submit by Tuesday a report on the date(s) scheduled for private mediation. She intends to schedule a status conference two weeks after the mediation date.

Hillbroom, his former lawyers, David J. Lujan and Barry J. Israel, and former trustee, Keith Waibel, informed the court yesterday that they wish to pursue and complete a private mediation before proceeding to trial.

They believe a short trial continuance of up to the end of the first quarter of 2020 will allow a mediation to be completed. That’s a deadline of up to March 2020.

Hillbroom’s counsel, Nelson Werner, informed the court that their mediator is Peter Thompson out of San Francisco, California.

Lujan does not see an issue as to the cost and payment of a mediator.

Manglona ordered that all witnesses currently under subpoena, including Hillbroom, shall remain under subpoena and would appear on the first day if the trial pushes through, so the service of another subpoena with the new date of appearance will not be required.

The judge said all witnesses authorized to testify at trial by remove live video feed shall also remain authorized.

At the hearing, Hillbroom appeared via telephone, along with his counsel, Rachel Dimitruk. 
Also appearing telephonically were Lujan, Israel, and Israel’s counsels, Theodore Frank and David Parker.

Those present in court were Hillbroom’s counsels, Mark B. Hanson and Nelson Werner, Israel’s counsel, Victorino Torres, and Waibel.

Hillbroom is suing Lujan, Israel, and Waibel over alleged mismanagement of approximately $90 million that he inherited from his father, Larry Lee Hillblom, a co-founder and former owner of DHL Worldwide Express.

In his lawsuit, Hillbroom alleged Lujan and Israel, together with Waibel, conspired in 2001 to wrongfully increase their contingency fee when the estate of Hillblom was undergoing probate.

Lujan and Israel have also filed counter-claims against Waibel. Waibel in turn, also filed counterclaims against Lujan and Israel.

Hillbroom, a Palauan, is one of the four DNA-proven children of Hillblom. His name is spelled differently from that of Hillblom.

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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