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Last updateWed, 20 Feb 2019 12am







    Tuesday, February 19, 2019-2:27:44P.M.






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AG’s office asks court to dismiss lawsuit of wildlife biologist

THE Office of the Attorney General has asked the federal court to dismiss the discrimination lawsuit of a wildlife biologist against the Department of Lands and Natural Resources-Division of Fish and Wildlife, and its officials.

Assistant Attorney General Robert J. Picket, in response to the lawsuit of Dr. Anne Orlando, said the defendants’ do not know the grounds upon which they are being sued for retaliation other than it has something to do with the plaintiff’s repatriation.

“The issue is compounded by the “shotgun” reincorporation of all allegations into the retaliation claim,” Picket said.

In her complaint, Orlando alleged that DLNR Secretary Anthony Benavente, DFW director Manuel Pangelinan, and former DFW acting director Mike Tenorio discriminated against her due to her pregnancy.

She also claimed that defendants constructively terminated her by failing to pay her salary, wages and or/leave time and benefits.

Orlando claimed violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: discrimination, retaliation, and breach of contract.

Picket said knowing the timing of the failure to pay and actions regarding the repatriation procedures are also essential to properly respond to the complaint.

“Different people appear to have different authority at different times during the time of the retaliation based upon the complaint,” he added. “Different defendants may have different responses. In order to provide an accurate answer it is essential to know what occurred and when.”

Picket asked the court to order Orlando to specify which defendant is responsible for which cause of action and to provide more details as to the retaliation claim.

“The accusations are too vague or ambiguous for defendants to reasonably prepare a response,” he said.

He said DLNR, Pangelinan, Benavente and Tenorio should be dismissed from the lawsuit as they are not proper parties to this suit.

The CNMI should be substituted as defendant in their place, Picket added.

He said the court should dismiss Orlando’s retaliation claim for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Insufficient facts are pled to support the retaliation claim and she also failed to exhaust administrative remedies, he added.

Picket said the retaliation claim should also be dismissed for  lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Moreover, the plaintiff failed to substantially comply with the presentment requirement, which is jurisdictional, the assistant AG added.

Orlando, through her  attorney Rene C. Holmes, has asked the  District Court for the NMI for a judgment ordering the defendants to pay her earned and unpaid salary, leave time, repatriation costs, damages for medical fees, lost or damaged household goods, and court costs.