Paul Murphy submits $1,886 in costs


U.S. Army Ranger veteran Paul A. Murphy has submitted in federal court a bill that shows he incurred $1,886.06 in filing a lawsuit to stop the enforcement of some provisions of the Commonwealth Weapons Control Act and the newly enacted Special Act for Firearms and Enforcement.

In his bill of costs filed on Tuesday, Murphy said he spent $1,046.06 for “other costs” and $840 for the fees of the clerk, fees for service of summons and subpoenas, and fees and disbursement for printing.

In itemizing the “other costs,” Murphy said he lost 32 hours at $18.58 per hour, for a total of $594.56 in annual leave/time for case related issues and hearings.

He said he paid $201.50 in fees related to firearms applications and $250 for his flight to Guam to place his firearm in the Guam DPS Armory.

In an order last Sept. 28, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona awarded costs to Murphy for bringing the lawsuit and ordered him to file an accounting itemizing any costs he spent in filing the case.

Manglona, however, denied Murphy’s request for legal fees. As a pro se plaintiff, he is not entitled to an award of attorney’s fees in a civil rights action.

The CNMI government is liable to pay Murphy’s costs.

In that same Sept. 28 ruling, Manglona declared unconstitutional the $1,000 excise tax on pistols and several provisions that the CNMI imposed under the newly enacted SAFE.

Manglona’s ruling favored most of the challenges that Murphy raised in his lawsuit that challenged certain provisions of the Commonwealth’s Weapons Control Act and SAFE.

A teacher, Murphy filed the lawsuit pro se or without a lawyer.

Manglona said the Murphy has valiantly pursued all lawful efforts to protect and defend his rights in a community where the voice of the majority can often overpower the equally important rights of the minority.

In the midst of Murphy’s litigation, Manglona issued a ruling favorable to U.S. Navy veteran David J. Radich and his wife, who prevailed in their lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of some provisions of the CNMI’s gun control law. The ruling struck down the Commonwealth’s ban on handguns.

Last month, Manglona granted the request of the Radich couple for payment to their two lawyers of attorney’s fees and expenses for prevailing in their lawsuit. Manglona awarded the Radich couple a total of $101,638.62 in attorney’s fees and court costs instead of the requested $103,913.83.

Manglona awarded the couple’s attorney’s fees in the amount of $78,375 for attorney David G. Sigale’s work and $15,120 for Daniel T. Guidotti’s work, for a total of $93,495. The judge also awarded costs in the amount of $8,143.62.

The CNMI government was given 30 days from the order to pay the couple the total fees and costs.

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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