Taisague, NMI govt fail to reach settlement


Jesus I. Taisague and the CNMI government have failed to reach a settlement deal in Taisague’s lawsuit that questioned the constitutionality of the settlement agreement in Betty Johnson’s class action against the Retirement Fund and others.

U.S. District Court for the NMI designated Judge Frances M. Tydingco-Gatewood disclosed yesterday that the parties in Taisague’s lawsuit had as settlement conference with a magistrate judge last Aug. 8, but did not reach a settlement agreement.

With this development, Tydingco-Gatewood ordered that the parties file a joint status report by Sept. 7, 2018.

U.S. District Court of Guam Magistrate Judge Joaquin V. E. Manibusan Jr. was designated to act as a settlement judge in Taisague’s lawsuit.

Tydingco-Gatewood handled Johnson’s lawsuit after U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona recused herself from the case. The class action resulted in a settlement.

Manglona and Tydingco-Gatewood concurred that a magistrate from the District of Guam shall be assigned for the duration of Taisague’s lawsuit, and for any additional time required to complete any related business, and to perform certain settlement duties in the case.

Manglona and Tydingco-Gatewood have determined that recusal of all local federal judges from Taisague’s case has created an “emergency,” requiring the temporary assignment of a magistrate judge from the District of Guam to the District Court for the NMI.

Taisague filed the lawsuit in 2013 against then-governor Eloy S. Inos, the CNMI government, Department of Finance, and the Retirement Fund for entering into a settlement agreement with Johnson that, according to him, is unconstitutional and illegal.

Taisague filed the case through counsel Ramon Quichocho, who is now disbarred.

In December 2013, Tydingco-Gatewood denied Taisague’s motion that seeks an order enjoining Inos and the CNMI government from withholding or failing to pay 100 percent of his pension benefits.

Taisague was among the 16 persons who opted out of the Johnson settlement agreement.

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 ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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