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    Tuesday, February 19, 2019-1:56:51P.M.






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Ex-lawmaker asks court not to dismiss her lawsuit against CHCC

A FORMER House floor leader who sued the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. for negligence is asking the court not to dismiss her lawsuit.

In 2015, Ana Sablan Teregeyo, who represents herself in the lawsuit, filed a complaint for malpractice related to the near loss of her leg.

Ana Sablan Teregeyo

She alleged that CHCC’s negligence resulted in her left knee and leg becoming infected, forcing her to undergo five surgeries and a knee replacement.

Teregeyo’s original lawsuit named CHCC, its chief executive officer Esther L. Muna, and certain medical staff officers as defendants. She filed an amended complaint and added Dr. Greg Kotheimer and Dr. Sherleen Osman as defendants.

She said rather than addressing the substandard care provided to the residents of the CNMI, CHCC hides behind a law that limits damages to $50,000 for wrongful death and $100,000 for personal injury and denies victims of malpractice a trial by jury.

Teregeyo said lawyers who have taken these cases in the past have had to front the money for medical experts and then defend against the salaried lawyers of the Office of the Attorney General who have marching orders to avoid the CNMI having to pay any claims.

She said just recently, CHCC or the CNMI government refused to pay judgments that the few victims who have sued were able to obtain.

Teregeyo said private attorneys in the CNMI now turn down  plaintiffs who have been injured at CHCC.

She said  she had to proceed pro se because no attorney would take her case.

Teregeyo asked the court to give her greater latitude to correct the defects in service of process, because she tried her best to serve the defendant and she was acting by herself with limited assistance from attorneys.

She said her claims are not barred by the statute of limitations.

Then-Assistant Attorney General David Lochabay asked the court to dismiss her complaint on Jan. 12, 2016 because the government had not been provided 90 days to review the claim as required by the Government Liability Act or GLA.

Teregeyo voluntarily dismissed her complaint without prejudice so that she could comply with the GLA.

On Feb. 5, 2016, Teregeyo hand-delivered her second amended complaint to Attorney General Edward Manibusan, accompanied by a letter that sought a prompt response to her claim of malpractice.

Teregeyo said 90 days passed but there was no response from the AG.

On May 9, 2016, Teregeyo submitted her complaint to the Superior Court and served process on CHCC. Again there was no response from CHCC or the AG’s office, she said.

On May 7, 2018, Teregeyo asked the court for an order of default against CHCC.

On June 25, 2018, the AG’s office filed an opposition to the default-judgment motion and moved to dismiss Teregeyo’s lawsuit due to insufficiency of service of process and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

Superior Court  Judge Joseph N. Camacho scheduled a status conference for July 17, 2018 at 1:30 pm.

In a separate statement, Teregeyo said she called the AG’s office  to meet with Manibusan and discuss a possible out-of-court settlement.

She made the request on May 21, 2018. On May 25, she received a notice that the deputy AG, Lillian Tenorio would meet with her.

At the meeting, Teregeyo said she was told by Tenorio that the deputy AG was not in a position to discuss a possible settlement.

Teregeyo added that Tenorio also indicated that there could be a problem in the service delivery of the court documents to other parties involved in the civil case.

She said no further explanation was given to her.

Teregeyo personally served the AG with her opposition to the government’s motion to dismiss her lawsuit on July 11, 2018.