Vietnam-based lawyer wants Hillbroom lawsuit dismissed


Vietnam-based lawyer Barry J. Israel has re-filed his motion for the federal court to dismiss a legal malpractice lawsuit filed against him by Junior Larry Hillbroom.

Israel, through counsel Theodore W. Frank, asserted that the U.S. District Court for the NMI should dismiss the lawsuit based on Hillbroom’s stated decision that he no longer wants to proceed with the case.

Alternatively, Israel asked the court to hold a hearing with Hillbroom on this issue as soon as possible.

Guam lawyer David J. Lujan, who is also a co-defendant in the lawsuit, joined in Israel’s motion.

Israel earlier filed the same motion to dismiss but as an emergency, based on the same grounds. U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona denied that motion last month, saying it fails to comply with the court’s local rule, that it contains no statement certifying Israel’s efforts to resolve the dispute without court action.

Manglona, however, allowed the lawyer to re-file the motion.

In re-filing the motion to dismiss, Frank said Hillbroom had already instructed his lawyer to drop the lawsuit as early as Feb. 2, 2009, but his counsel has not yet comply with that instruction.

Frank said that counsels for Israel and Hillbroom conferred via telephone last March 14, about the issues raised in the emergency motion.

Frank said Hillbroom’s counsel refused to dismiss the court action, stating that Hillbroom had instructed them to “proceed” with the action.

Frank said Hillbroom’s counsel refused to provide proof of Hillbroom’s instruction to “proceed” with the action in light of plaintiff’s multiple statements to Lujan to the contrary.

Hillbroom’s deposition of Israel is set to begin May 7, 2019 in Guam.

Frank said if Hillbroom’s intention is to dismiss this action and he has instructed his counsel to do so, it would work a great injustice against both Hillbroom and Israel.

Frank said Hillbroom expressed to Lujan that he needs to focus on his drug issues and his Palau criminal case and wants to get out of this civil action.

“Israel will have to travel to Guam and expend both his and plaintiff’s money to attend his deposition, all wasteful and idle acts if plaintiff has already determined to dismiss this action and given his counsel instructions to do so,” Frank said.

In his lawsuit, Hillbroom alleged that Israel and Lujan conspired with a former trustee to inflate their attorneys’ contingency fee when the fortune of the late business tycoon and DHL co-founder Larry Hillblom was still undergoing probate proceedings in Superior Court.

Israel and Lujan served as counsel for Hillbroom in the probate matter.

Hillbroom is one of the four DNA-proven children of Hillblom. His name is spelled differently from that of Hillblom.

Hillblom died in a seaplane crash off Anatahan waters on May 21, 1995. His body was never recovered.

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
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.