Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 07 Dec 2019 12am







    Saturday, December 7, 2019-7:09:10P.M.






Font Size


Federal judge: Ex-fire chief and fire inspector deprived contractor of right to do business

DISTRICT Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona on Tuesday said the former fire commissioner and a fire inspector deprived Double A Corp. of its right to do business when they denied the application of the company to install a fire sprinkler and suppression system.

The judge also denied the motion for summary judgment of former fire commissioner Clyde K. Norita and fire inspector Anthony Babauta.

Norita and Babauta, through their respective attorneys, earlier asked the court to issue an order in their favor, and dismiss Double A’s allegations against them. The defendants said they have “qualified immunity.”

Double A, a company that specializes in fire sprinkler and suppression system, sued Norita and Babauta for non-permit issuance of a sprinkler system that the company wanted to install at its client’s establishment on March 24, 2019.

Represented by attorney Jeff Horey, Double A sued Norita and Babauta on March 27, 2019 for deprivation of property without due process, and deprivation of liberty without due process, and demanded a jury trial.

Double A wanted the court to award it damages, including lost income and incidental and consequential damages.

In her order, Judge Manglona said the cases cited by the plaintiff “clearly establish that Double A had a valid liberty interest in pursuing its occupation of installing fire sprinklers, which it could not do without the permit that only a fire official such as Babauta and Norita could grant.”

She said minimal due process did not allow the defendants to “deny the permit without notifying Double A of their reasons and offering a meaningful opportunity to respond.”

Judge Manglona noted that the defendants did not inform Double A of any section of the fire code or other law empowering them to consider past installation errors when reviewing an application. “And lacking that information, Double A faced a significant obstacle when responding to them,” the judge added.

Norita and Babauta are represented by the Attorney General’s Office.

According to Double A’s lawsuit, the company submitted a quotation for a fire sprinkler system installation work in a complex of buildings operated by Proper Grand known as Sugar King Dormitory.

It proposed to do the work for the price of $410,150 on Oct. 20, 2017. On Nov. 3, 2017 Proper Grand agreed to hire Double A for the project.

The project, pursuant to the agreement, was contingent upon the approval by the fire department of the sprinkler system plans of Double A.

The company then applied for a permit from the fire department authorizing it to install the sprinkler system, but fire officials refused to issue any permit.