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AG’s office: Unlawful to enforce Rota doctors’ claims

THE Office of the Attorney General said it is unlawful to enforce the claims of two Rota hospital doctors seeking additional compensation.

Dr. Francois Classens and Dr. James Toskas sued the Rota Health Center and the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. in Superior Court for breach of contract and quantum meruit which is defined as “a reasonable sum of money to be paid for services rendered or work done when the amount due is not stipulated in a legally enforceable contract.”

The doctors want to be paid their administrative leave accruement totaling $635,187. Classens is asking for $308,000 while Toskas is claiming $327,187.

But the Office of the AG’s civil division chief, Christopher Timmons, said the court should dismiss the lawsuit.

Timmons, who represents the defendants, said the doctors are asking the court “to enforce a sweetheart backroom deal which, if made at all, was in contravention of commonwealth law, and was made by self-dealing medical professionals who lacked the legal authority to make such a deal in the first place.”

Timmons said the plaintiffs’ fundamental argument is that CHCC entered into an agreement to pay some of the highest public salaries in the commonwealth (over $150,000 in annual salary plus a housing allowance of $800 per month) — under which agreement the plaintiffs alleged to have worked more hours than required.

Timmons said the plaintiffs seek to be compensated over and above their guaranteed annual salaries.

Timmons is asking the court “to apply binding Supreme Court precedent to strike contract provisions that impose obligations on the government that contravene applicable law and regulations.”

The two doctors are represented by attorney Stephen Nutting and have opposed CHCC’s motion to dismiss the case.

According to the plaintiffs, the court should find the contracts legal and enforceable because the director of the Office of Personnel Management approved the terms at the time of the doctors’ initial employment and subsequently approved the terms during the renewal process.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/101890-ag-s-office-unlawful-to-enforce-rota-doctors-claims

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