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Last updateSat, 19 Oct 2019 12am







    Friday, October 18, 2019-10:44:53A.M.






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US court dismisses DPS from lawsuit

DISTRICT Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has dismissed the  Department of Public Safety from the police-brutality lawsuit filed by Vincent San Nicolas Norita.

She said DPS “lacks the capacity to be sued.” Pursuant to the CNMI attorney general’s certification, she added, the CNMI government has been substituted for defendants Stanley Patris and Carlo Evangelista who are both police officers.

Judge Manglona  granted in full the CNMI government’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject jurisdiction.

Assistant Attorney General Hessel E. Yntema earlier told the court that “the CNMI government enjoys sovereign immunity against suits based on Commonwealth law that are brought in federal court.”

In her 19-page order, Judge Manglona said only three issues remain: 1) the claim against the Commonwealth and official capacity defendants, insofar as it is for injunctive relief only; 2) the U.S. constitutional claims against Evangelista and Patris, in their personal capacities for injunctive relief only; and 3) CNMI constitutional claim against Officers Evangelista and Patris in their personal capacities.

 All remaining claims are dismissed without prejudice, the judge said as she ordered the clerk of court to change the caption of the lawsuit to add the CNMI government as a defendant and remove DPS

Represented by attorney Rene C. Holmes, Norita sued DPS, DPS Commissioner Robert A. Guerrero in his official capacity, DPS officers Stanley Patris and Carlo Evangelista in their personal and official capacities, and unnamed defendants for violations of constitutional rights, for use of excessive and unreasonable force, assault and battery resulting in serious bodily injury after a high-speed pursuit in Dec. 2016 that resulted in police officers being video recorded and posted on social media beating Norita.

 Norita also sued the defendants for intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

He asked the court for an award of damages for pain and suffering and emotional distress in an amount to be proven at trial.

 He also sued for punitive damages in an amount to be proven in trial.

 In May 2017, Norita was sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to 18 traffic offenses that included speeding, reckless driving, fleeing a police officer, theft of vehicle and tampering with a vehicle.