Parties in lawsuit over derailed UB40 concert reach settlement

Saipan concert promoter Steven Brownstein and a former CNMI resident, Jason H. Aldan, have reached a settlement in connection with Brownstein’s lawsuit over the derailed concert of the English reggae and pop bond UB40 in Guam and Saipan in 2005.

At a hearing following a settlement conference last Thursday, Steven P. Pixley, counsel for Brownstein, informed the U.S. District Court for the NMI that they have reached a monetary settlement amount, to be paid today, Monday.

According to the minutes of the hearing, Pixley said the parties would work out the terms in a written agreement. The settlement amount remains confidential.

Charity Hodson, counsel for Aldan, agreed with Pixley.

With the settlement, the case is expected to be dropped.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather L. Kennedy presided over the settlement conference.

In April 2017, Brownstein, who owns Steven Brownstein Entertainment, filed the lawsuit against Fredrick Holloman and Aldan for allegedly defrauding his company of $115,000 by misrepresenting to have the UB40 perform in Guam and Saipan in 2015.

Holloman is a San Diego, California resident. Aldan works for CNMI Medical Referral in Hawaii but also has worked from time to time with Brownstein to bring entertainers to Saipan.

Brownstein filed claims of breach of contract by Holloman, and fraud and unjust enrichment by Holloman and Aldan.

In July 2017, Aldan, through counsel Robert T. Torres, filed a motion to dismiss the fraud and unjust enrichment claims against him.

In November 2017, the court granted that motion and dismissed the claims without prejudice, giving Brownstein leave to amend.

On January, 2018, Brownstein filed a first amended complaint naming only Aldan as a defendant and omitting the breach-of-contract claims against Holloman.

In response, Aldan filed a motion to require joinder of a necessary party, namely Holloman.

The matter was resolved when the parties stipulated that Brownstein would “file a second amended complaint” naming Holloman as a defendant in the civil proceeding.

On May 4, 2018, Brownstein filed a second amended complaint naming both Aldan and Holloman as defendants, and a new summons for Holloman was issued.

In response, Aldan filed his answer to the second amended complaint and counterclaim, alleging abuse of process by Brownstein.

Aldan counterclaimed for abuse of process. He asserted that Brownstein is using the lawsuit to make him (Aldan) “a scapegoat for the backlash, bad press, and embarrassment that Steven Brownstein Entertainment has encountered” when fans were struck with purchased tickets to canceled concerts.

Brownstein, through Pixley, then moved to dismiss the counterclaim.

Pixley argued that Aldan’s failure to plead facts supporting the allegation that Brownstein maliciously resented Aldan, together with the narrow construction given the tort of abuse of process, mandates dismissal of the counterclaim.

Last July, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramoan V. Manglona granted Brownstein’s motion to dismiss, but allowed him to amend his counter-complaint. Manglona ruled that Aldan has not stated a claim for abuse of process.

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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