Yamamoto: Bar more parties from Luta claims


Japanese investor Takahisa Yamamoto has asked the federal court to enter a default judgment against any parties who have not intervened in his lawsuit against Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog and the owner and operators of cargo ship M/V Luta.

Yamamoto, through counsel George Lloyd Hasselback, said the notice requirements have been met and the time for filing a claim has expired.

That means the district court should enter a default judgment against any parties who have not intervened in the case, he said.

Last week, U.S. District Court for the NMI designated judge Frances M. Tydingco-Gatewood approved the sale of M/V Luta in the minimum bid of $550,000, citing the excessive cost of keeping it and the delay in securing its release.

Tydingco-Gatewood ordered the U.S. Marshal to sell the ship on Feb. 8, 2017.

Yamamoto is suing Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog and the owner/operators of M/V Luta for allegedly refusing to pay back the $3.4 million that he put up for the vessel.

The U.S. Marshal Service later seized M/V Luta and appointed the National Maritime Services Inc. as its custodian.

The ship’s former captain, Michael Brochon, and six crewmembers, Norton Lilly International Inc., and Long Consulting then intervened in Yamamoto’s lawsuit to collect payments for alleged unpaid wages and other services.

In Yamamoto’s motion for default on Thursday, Hasselback asserted that anyone claiming a right of possession or ownership interest in M/V Luta were required to file statements of right/interest within 10 days after the arrest of the vessel.

Hasselback said three groups have so far intervened, each claiming an interest in the ship.

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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