Woman, daughter seek $7.61M in damages vs vexatious litigant


A woman and her daughter are seeking $7.61 million in damages against John Sablan Pangelinan, who has been found by the Superior Court to have abused the legal process by interfering into the probate of a $3.2-million estate of his deceased cousin.

Secundina Untalan Pangelinan and her daughter, Selina Marie Pangelinan, filed Tuesday before the Superior Court a motion for attorney’s fees, cost of litigation, and damages.

Secundina and Selina Pangelinan, through counsel Janet H. King, asked the court to hold John Pangelinan responsible to pay them $90,281.92 for attorney’s fees and costs; $256,446.85 for damages in the form of investment interest; $798,580.97 for emotional distress, and $2,661,936.58 for punitive damages. Additionally, they are also seeking $3.8 million in the tortious interference claim.

King said the plaintiffs have so far spent a combined total of $90,281 in both the probate action and in this case. Had it not been for John Pangelinan’s frivolous filing, the proceeds from the lease and sale transaction in the total amount of $2,405,489 would have already been with the plaintiffs and would have been placed in a viable investment with a reputable investment trust firm.

King said that, based on a calculation prepared by AST Trust LLC, had the fund been invested on Dec. 31, 2018, it would have already earned $256,446 today.

Last May, Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho ruled that Secundina and Selina Pangelinan have proven by evidence that John Pangelinan committed the tort of abuse of process in the estate.

Camacho said Secundina and Selina Pangelinan have proven that John Pangelinan also committed the tort of intentional interference with another’s performance of their own contract by tortuously interfering in the contractual relations between plaintiffs and Peak Development (CNMI) LLC.

The judge ordered Secundina and Selina Pangelinan to file their request for damages and/or other remedies against John Pangelinan.

The U.S. District Court for the NMI had declared John Pangelinan a vexatious litigant.

Secundina and Selina Pangelinan sued John Pangelinan for allegedly abusing the legal system to extort money from them by interfering with the probate of the estate of Secundina Pangelinan’s deceased husband, Norberto Pangelinan, although he is not a creditor.

Camacho found that based on the testimonies and exhibits, there was nothing in John Pangelinan’s relationship with plaintiffs that justified his interference.

Secundina Pangelinan is the administratrix of the estate of Norberto E. Pangelinan. Norberto E. Pangelinan was Secondina Pangelinan’s husband and Selina Pangelinan’s biological father.
Camacho said that John Pangelinan is very familiar with court proceedings and is knowledgeable about how to clog-up the court’s docket. Camacho said John Pangelinan filed a total of almost 500 pages of frivolous motions, declarations, objections, petitions, and claims throughout the probate action.

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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