Staff sues Mayor’s Office for injuries from 2012 fall

An employee of the Saipan Mayor’s Office has filed a lawsuit over the severe injuries he suffered when the bucket truck’s arm he was on suddenly broke as he was cutting off branches of trees, plunging him several feet to a rooftop of a building in 2012.

Lawrence M. Fleming, through counsel Joseph E. Horey, is suing the Office of the Mayor of Saipan, the CNMI government, and the administrator of the estate of former Saipan mayor Donald G. Flores, for negligence and worker’s compensation.

In a lawsuit filed yesterday, Fleming asked the Superior Court to hold the defendants liable to pay him $350,000 in damages for pain, suffering, and emotional distress. He also demanded payment for court costs and attorney’s fees.

Fleming’s work as an employee of the Mayor’s Office included cutting and trimming of trees along roadsides and elsewhere on Saipan.

Horey stated in the complaint that on July 19, 2012, Fleming was on a bucket truck and was cutting branches of trees above the roof of a government house on Capital Hill when the mechanical arm suddenly collapsed and the bucket, with Fleming in it, fell downward more than 20 feet and crashed on the concrete roof of the house.

The lawyer said that Fleming sustained a burst compression fracture of his lumbar vertebra that required surgery and that he will likely to require further medical treatment in the future.

On April 16, 2014, Horey said, Fleming presented a claim for his damages to the Attorney General, but the AG made no disposition of the claim within 90 days after it was presented, and is therefore deemed to have denied the claim.

Horey said the Mayor’s Office breached its duties to Fleming by failing to adequately maintain the truck and failing to give him or other users adequate instructions in its proper use.

The lawyer said the Saipan Mayor’s Office did not secure payment of worker’s compensation benefits for Fleming as required by the Commonwealth Worker’s Compensation law.

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Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at

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