Settlement reached in defamation lawsuit


The parties in the defamation lawsuit filed by the wife of Superior Court Presiding Judge Roberto C. Naraja against Bank of Hawaii have entered a confidential settlement deal to resolve the entire case.

The many parties in the case—Frances DLG Naraja, Bank of Hawaii, Gloria DLG. Sablan, The Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero Family Trust, Joaquin V. Deleon Guerrero, Margarita Deleon Guerrero Santos, and the Commonwealth Development Authority—informed the U.S. District Court for the NMI last Thursday that they have resolved the entire lawsuit.

Frances DLG Naraja, Gloria Sablan, Joaquin Deleon Guerrero, and Margarita Santos are siblings. Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero is their late father.

The parties, through their lawyers, asked court to dismiss the case with prejudice, which means the case can no longer be re-opened.

Each side shall bear its own fees and costs.

William M. Fitzgerald is counsel for Frances DLG Naraja and Margarita DLG Santos, while lawyers Sean E. Frink and Charity Hodson, are counsels for Bank of Hawaii and CDA, respectively. Samuel Mok is counsel for the Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero Family Trust and Gloria Sablan. Timothy H. Bellas is counsel for Joaquin Deleon Guerrero.

Frances DLG Naraja filed the lawsuit in 2018 against BOH for allegedly refusing to honor her eight cashier’s checks in the total amount of $290,000 that she had purchased in 2016, but then telling all the other banks on Saipan that she had improperly secured the cashier’s checks.

Frances DLG Naraja had also sued BOH for allegedly dishonoring the cashier’s checks and conversion. She sought the return of $290,000.

BOH then filed a counterclaim against Frances DLG Naraja and third-party claims against CDA, Gloria Sablan, and the Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero Family Trust.

Last December, the U.S. District Court for the NMI Bankruptcy Division allowed BOH to include in Frances DLG Naraja’s defamation lawsuit her brother, Joaquin Deleon Guerrero.

Bankruptcy Division chief judge Ramona V. Manglona said BOH seeks to bring debtor Joaquin Deleon Guerrero into the defamation lawsuit so that it may obtain a complete resolution of the ownership rights to the disputed $290,000.

The ownership issue of the $290,000 is the subject in Frances DLG Naraja’s lawsuit against BOH. The money was held in a joint account of Joaquin Deleon Guerrero and two of his sisters, Frances DLG Naraja and Gloria Sablan.

The money is currently being held by the Superior Court pursuant to a writ of execution in a lawsuit against Joaquin Deleon Guerrero and his wife brought by CDA.

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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