AG’s office seeks mandatory settlement conference in lawsuit against MV Luta

THE Office of the Attorney General, which has sued Luta Mermaid/MV Luta over the failure to repay appropriated public funds in the amount of $400,000, is asking the Superior Court for a mandatory settlement conference.

Assistant Attorney General Christopher Timmons said the CNMI government has the option to request an order to proceed with a mandatory settlement conference.

Timmons said in the interest of judicial economy, the government will exercise this right should a mediation order be issued.

He also asked the court to order the parties to participate in the mandatory settlement conference as opposed to a mediation in the event the court deems mediation is appropriate.

Timmons said pursuant to NMI R. ADR § 1007, “the court shall determine whether and/or when an order for mediation should be issued.”

He said the commonwealth does not believe mediation or settlement discussions would be fruitful at this time due to the position the defendants have taken; the defendant’s financial condition and represented illiquidity; the non-operational status of the defendant’s primary asset, MV Luta; and the defendant’s ongoing litigation with third parties in other tribunals.

The Luta Mermaid officials are Abelina T. Mendiola, Deron T. Mendiola, Fidel S. Mendiola III and Fidel Mendiola Jr.

The complaint stated that the defendants received public funds amounting to $400,000 without authorization.

The lawsuit also alleged wrongful retention of public funds, unjust enrichment, and using public funds for personal use.

Hal Spot, legal assistant to Presiding Judge Robert Naraja, stated in a memorandum that ordering mediation would be totally unproductive and would merely delay the proceedings.

Spott said it seems unlikely that mediation will be ordered because the CNMI government, in its court submissions, has signaled that there is virtually no possibility of settlement.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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