Sen. Manglona’s motion to exclude siblings’ handwriting expert from testifying denied

But siblings’ motion to dismiss case is denied

Superior Court Judge Pro Tempore David A. Wiseman has denied Sen. Paul A. Manglona’s (Ind-Rota) motion to exclude his siblings’ handwriting expert witness from testifying at trial in connection with their court battle over a piece of land on Upper Capital Hill.

In the same order issued on Monday, Wiseman denied a motion to dismiss Paul Manglona’s lawsuit filed by his siblings Priscilla M. Torres and Thomas A. Manglona.

Torres and Thomas Manglona are co-administrators of the estate of their late mother, Bernadita A. Manglona.

Wiseman ruled that Paul Manglona’s lawsuit will proceed to trial on Feb. 20, 2018, so that the court can hear the merits of this case and the matter to be expeditiously resolved.

Wiseman ordered co-administrators Torres and Thomas Manglona to supply Paul Manglona with a summary of facts and opinions underlying their expert’s opinion on or before Feb. 9.

The judge ordered Paul Manglona to submit a notice of a counter expert, if any, on or before Feb. 12.

Wiseman expressed anew his disappointment that the parties in the case continue to engage in procedural brinkmanship, which does little to advance this suit to its ultimate resolution.

As to the motion to exclude co-administrator’s expert, Wiseman said the entire case centers on the genuineness and validity of the deeds in question.

Therefore, Wiseman said, allowing the expert to testify at trial does not prejudice Paul Manglona.

However, the judge agreed with Paul Manglona’s point that he has not been provided with the type of expert report and information, which can be expected in this type of case.

As such, Wiseman said, co-administrators Torres and Thomas Manglona should supply Paul Manglona with reasonable information about the expert and his analysis of the facts and circumstances, which has led to his expert opinion.

Wiseman reiterated that he expects the parties to work cooperatively with each other to ensure that both sides are ready to proceed to the Feb. 20 trial.

On the motion for dismissal for Paul Manglona’s failure to join other parties in the lawsuit, Wiseman said the appropriate course is to amend the caption in the case—not dismissal.

Wiseman said dismissal at this stage would be a waste of valuable judicial resources. He noted that he has already made travel arrangement, including hotel accommodations, some of which are nonrefundable.

He said the sum of dismissal would be that Paul Manglona’s complaint is refiled with the minor change that co-administrators Torres and Thomas Manglona are named and not the estate.

“For all other purposes the case would proceed in the exact manner,” said Wiseman, adding that minor technical shortcomings, which both parties agree can be cured, does not justify the waste of judicial resources.

Paul Manglona is suing Torres, Thomas Manglona, and their mother’s estate over the disputed 4,181-square-meter property on Upper Capital Hill.

The senator asked the court to declare him the fee simple owner of the property by virtue of a deed of gift on July 11, 1985, and that neither the defendants have any rights to do it.

In their answer to the lawsuit, Torres and Thomas Manglona, through counsel, asserted that their brother, Paul Manglona, does not inherit entirely the disputed land as their mother’s signature had been forged.

Paul Manglona, through counsel Mark Scoggins, then moved to exclude his siblings’ expert witnesses, specifically hand writing expert, on the grounds that court deadline has come for submitting in court their experts.

Torres and Thomas Manglona, through counsel Samuel I. Mok, then moved to dismiss the case as they accused the senator of violating two court orders.

Mok asked the court to dismiss Paul Manglona’s lawsuit against his siblings on the basis that the senator has failed to join necessary and indispensable parties to this case.

Last Nov. 16, Wiseman granted Torres’ and Thomas Manglona’s motion to join indispensable parties. Wiseman also ordered that the estate be dropped as a named party to this case.

Wiseman heard the motions last Feb. 2.

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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