Settlement eyed in Hunter’s OGA suit


Private citizen Glen Hunter, Lt. Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, and some lawmakers are in talks to possibly settle Hunter’s Open Government Act lawsuit over the enactment of the Saipan casino law.

Hunter’s counsel, Jennifer Dockter, and assistant attorney general David Lochabay, counsel for Torres, told Superior Court Associate Judge David Wiseman yesterday about the parties’ settlement discussions.

Dockter said the parties will submit a possible settlement agreement in two weeks.

This prompted Wiseman to reset the hearing on Torres’ motion for a protective order to Feb. 25. The hearing was supposed to be held yesterday afternoon.

Hunter is suing the government, Gov. Eloy S. Inos, Torres, House Speaker Joseph Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan), and two other lawmakers for allegedly violating the Open Government Act when they enacted the Saipan Casino Act without following the OGA’s public notice provisions.

In an interview yesterday, Dockter said the defendants raised the idea of a settlement and that she and Hunter are open to settlement.

“Our entire purpose has been to force transparency and if we can talk settlement, that’s always an idea. We never wanted to litigate this,” Dockter said.

The lawyer said they hope the parties come to an agreement and settle on mutually acceptable terms.

“I believe that’s possible. It’s always been our hope,” she said, adding that the settlement would be a matter of public knowledge.

“There is nothing that we would ever agree to keep secret. The entire purpose of this is transparency and openness. The settlement would be the same thing,” Dockter said.

She said the lawsuit is not about trying to sue people, or a political party, or a political favor, or the casino.

“Contrary to I think [what] some people believe, it’s not about casino. It’s always been about transparency,” she said.

Dockter said no matter how people feel about casinos or about a certain political party, everyone should be bothered by the manner in which the casino bill was passed.

She declined to go into the details of the settlement talks, saying she does not want to derail it or do anything that frustrates that purpose. “My client has always been very focused on transparency and if that’s ultimately what we get, then we settle.”

Lochabay refused to comment.

Torres, through Lochabay, filed the motion for protective order after appearing for his deposition in court last Jan. 29.

Lochabay said the transcript of the two-hour deposition makes it clear that Hunter, by counsel Dockter, is on an “impermissible fishing expedition seeking to rummage around in Torres’ affairs in an effort to embarrass, disrupt and annoy.”

A discovery dispute arose in the case after Lochabay advised Torres not to answer some of Dockter’s questions regarding some lawmakers’ Hong Kong trip in 2013 and 2014.

In Hunter’s reply to the motion, Dockter said the deposition of Torres was not done in a manner showing bad faith or to embarrass, annoy, or oppress him.

Dockter also asked the court to impose sanctions on Lochabay, for his behavior at the deposition.

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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