Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio has ordered the release of a van and the removal from the Superior Court parking lot of a limousine and two buses owned by Mode Tour Saipan Corp. that were all seized last week as part of a court order.
At an emergency status conference on Tuesday afternoon, Kim-Tenorio ordered the Marshal Service Division to release the 2013 Toyota Sienna van with license plate ACK-794 to its registered owner, Soon Hwa Kim.
Kim-Tenorio ordered the return of the van after Soon Hwa Kim showed documents proving that she owns the car and not Mode Tour.
Soon Hwa Kim told Saipan Tribune that her van has a Mode Tour logo because her company deals with Mode Tour. She said the van is her only vehicle that she has been using daily for personal and work activities.
The judge ordered plaintiffs Ho Chan Jung, Eun Ju Jun, and Jung Su An, who are represented by attorney Colin Thompson, to remove from the court’s parking lot Mode Tour’s limousine and two buses no later than 24 hours from Tuesday.
Kim-Tenorio issued the seizure order at Thompson’s request last April 28.
Thompson asked for the writ of execution after the Superior Court jury on Tinian found Mode Tour Saipan and its parent company in South Korea, Mode Tour Network, liable to pay a $2.3 million in damages to the widow and estate of a Korean tourist who drowned during a cliff fishing tour at Dump Coke on Tinian in 2008.
The jurors awarded $500,000 to victim Hoseung Jung’s mother Jung Su An for mental pain and suffering. They also awarded $1.8 million to the estate of the decedent, Hoseung Jung, for pecuniary injury.
Kim-Tenorio presided over the trial. Thompson is counsel for mother Jung Su An, widow Eun Ju Jun, and brother Ho Chan Jung.
Thomas Clifford served as counsel for Mode Tour Saipan and Mode Tour Network.
Last week, Thursday, the Marshal Service served the writ of execution to Mode Tour and seized the four vehicles, including Soon Hwa Kim’s van. The Marshal Service brought the four vehicles to the parking lot of the Judiciary Complex.
Kim-Tenorio summoned the parties to an emergency status conference last Tuesday at 1:30pm regarding the issue of a writ of execution. The judge then also ordered the Marshal Service Division to suspend the execution of the writ until further court orders.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Kim-Tenorio explained that she set an emergency status conference because there’s a lot of concerns and questions surrounding the writ of execution.
The judge said the writ of execution directed toward seizures of vehicles registered to Mode Tour Saipan does not describe with particularity which category of vehicles are subject to seizure.
She stressed that personnel from the Marshal Service or from the Department of Public Safety may only act in an oversight capacity with respect to levying execution.
Kim-Tenorio said in any amended proposed writ, plaintiffs must identify an authorized person or persons to levy the execution in their appropriate roles and that plaintiffs must also relocate the vehicles already seized no later than 24 hours to a location that is not the court’s parking lot.
The judge said if plaintiffs fail to correct the deficiencies that she described no later than two days later, all pending writs of execution shall be returned to its former owners or possessors as if the applications for writ were never issued by the court.