AT HEARING ON HOW TO PAY $2.6M JUDGMENT TO BUSINESSWOMAN
Quichocho, wife allowed to appear at hearing by phone
The federal court has allowed disbarred lawyer Ramon K. Quichocho and his wife, Frances, to appear by telephone at a hearing on how they can pay a $2.6 million judgment to businesswoman Jung Ja Kim.
U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted on Feb. 7 the Quichocho couple’s request to appear by telephone at a Feb. 22 hearing.
The Quichochos are currently in Washington State, claiming personal and medical reasons, and cannot appear personally on Saipan for hearing.
The couple said that attorney Michael Dotts will be withdrawing as their lawyer in Kim’s case.
Kim, through counsel Robert T. Torres, asked the court to issue an order in aid of judgment against her former attorney, Quichocho, his law office, his wife Frances, and another business that the couple owned under the name of Karissa LLC.
The court entered a $2,411,719 judgment in April 2014 in favor of Kim. Following that, the Quichochos filed for bankruptcy protection in Washington.
Kim then filed an adversary proceeding at the bankruptcy court where the Quichochos filed their bankruptcy petition. An adversary proceeding is a separate lawsuit filed within the bankruptcy case.
Kim brought the adversary proceeding to challenge the dischargeability of the Quichochos’ debts. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court issued last April a final judgment that favored Kim.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Brian D. Lynch agreed with Kim that certain debts arising out of a judgment Kim had obtained against the Quichocho couple on Saipan are non-dischargeable.
Lynch declared as non-dischargeable a total of $2,606,661 that the Quichocho couple owe Kim.
Not dischargeable means that even if the Quichochos filed for bankruptcy, they will still owe these debts to Kim.
Lynch ruled that the Quichocho couple’s debt to Kim under the U.S. District Court judgment relating to three Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act claims in the original amount of $387,791.15 are non-dischargeable.
The judge also declared that the Quichocho couple’s debts to Kim under the same judgment for conversion of the Tan Dingo LLC and Latte Stone LLC in the original amount of $2,218,870 are non-dischargeable.
Lynch, however, denied Kim’s claims that certain other damages from the judgment are non-dischargeable, including for breach of fiduciary duty, legal malpractice, unpaid rent and property removal and destruction.
Because of the bankruptcy filing, in May 2015, U.S. District Court for the NMI Senior Judge Alex R. Munson suspended the proceedings relating to Kim’s motion for an order in aid of judgment.
In Kim’s application for an order in aid of judgment, Torres said the court should order the Quichochos to appear for questioning and determine the fastest manner in which the couple can pay the judgment.
In his declaration in April 2015, Quichocho says he is now self-employed and works as a truck driver in Tacoma, Washington, and that, due to his financial hardship, he cannot afford to make any payments to Kim.
Quichocho made the declaration in support of his and his wife Frances’ joint opposition to Kim’s motion for order in aid of judgment.
That racketeering lawsuit eventually ended up in March 2014 with the federal jury holding the Quichocho couple liable to pay $2.4 million in damages to Kim.
The court later awarded Kim $387,791.15 for her damages, costs, and attorney’s fees.