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Last updateTue, 26 Mar 2019 12am







    Sunday, March 24, 2019-7:11:07A.M.






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US magistrate judge to hear lawsuit against bank

THE parties in a lawsuit filed against the Bank of Hawaii have consented to the jurisdiction of the District Court for the NMI magistrate judge.

The plaintiff, Frances D.L.G. Naraja, through attorney William Fitzgerald, sued BOH in Superior Court in July 2018 for defamation and for not honoring a cashier’s check for $290,000 that she bought at the bank.

BOH, represented by attorneys Sean E. Frink, Marcia Schultz, and Catherine J. Cachero, moved the lawsuit to federal court,  saying that the bank and Mrs. Naraja are citizens of different states and the amount in question is more than $75,000

 BOH has also filed counterclaims against Mrs. Naraja, her sister, Gloria D.L.G. Sablan, the Commonwealth Development Authority, and the Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero Family Trust.

In its counterclaims BOH alleges that Mrs. Naraja’s brother Joaquin V. Deleon Guerrero declared bankruptcy together with his wife, Esther, claiming in their bankruptcy filings that the true owner of the $290,000 is and was the Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero Family Trust.

BOH said Joaquin Deleon Guerrero made similar claims in Superior Court proceedings in which CDA was pursuing Deleon Guerrero’s assets in order to enforce a $400,000 judg­ment.

BOH said it was in these same actions that CDA caused the Superior Court to issue a writ that the $290,000 be deposited with the Superior Court.

The $290,000 has been on deposit with the CNMI Superior Court since Jan. 12, 2017, where as best as BOH can tell, no one has since laid claim to it, the bank’s lawyers said.

District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has disqualified herself from hearing the lawsuit. She said Mrs. Naraja’s husband, Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert Naraja, is hearing the litigation involving Judge Manglona’s family trust.

She is disqualifying herself pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 455(a) and Canon 3(C) of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges. She also gave notice of the magistrate judge’s availability and gave the parties until Oct. 24 to consent or decline.

The parties, in a joint stipulation filed on Oct. 22, stated that they voluntarily consent to have a United States magistrate judge conduct all further proceeding in the case, including trial and entry of final judgment, with direct review by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in the event an appeal is filed.