CHIEF Judge Ramona V. Manglona of the District Court for the NMI has denied the request of attorney David Lujan for a court-ordered mediation in the lawsuit of Junior Larry Hillbroom.

At a status conference on Oct. 5, 2021, Judge Manglona likewise denied Lujan's request to proceed with limited discovery.

Hillbroom sued his former attorneys, Lujan and Barry Israel for legal malpractice, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and violations of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

The lawsuit has been ongoing since 2010.

Israel and Lujan represented Hillbroom when he was a minor in securing $90 million from the Larry Lee Hillblom estate.

When Hillbroom became an adult he sued his former lawyers for malpractice, as well as his former trustee, Keith Waibel, for conspiracy.

Hillbroom is one of the four DNA-proven heirs of DHL Corp. founder Larry Lee Hillblom who died in a plane crash in 1995 near Saipan leaving behind him an estate estimated at about $600 million.

In his lawsuit, Hillbroom alleged that the defendants committed extrinsic fraud on the Guam guardianship court by denying him a fair opportunity to challenge their 56% retainer.

In July 2020, Hillbroom agreed to dismiss Israel from the lawsuit after a settlement agreement was reached.

Hillbroom is represented by attorneys Rachel Dimitruk and Mark Hanson.

At the Oct. 5 hearing, the judge adopted the request that expert reports and trial testimony filing be due on Oct. 26; the opposition due on Nov. 9; and the reply due on Nov. 16.

Judge Manglona likewise ordered the plaintiff to file proposed jury instructions and verdict forms no later than Nov. 16. The defendant's supplemental brief should be filed on Nov. 23, and the joint proposed pretrial order should be filed no later than Nov. 15.

Judge Manglona scheduled the final pretrial conference as well as motion hearing for Nov. 30 at 3:30 p.m. 

She directed the parties to file statement of damages by Nov. 30 and trial briefs to be filed under seal until a jury is empaneled.

The jury trial will start on Dec. 7, 2021.

Lujan previously asked the federal court to dismiss with prejudice his former client’s lawsuit because of Hillbroom’s recent criminal arrest, but this was denied by the federal court.

Hillbroom, 37, recently pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in the U.S. District Court of Idaho. He will be sentenced on Feb. 8, 2022.

In 2015 and 2016, according to the prosecution, Hillbroom conspired with others to smuggle methamphetamine through international airports between north Idaho and Guam and Palau.

The prosecution said Hillbroom and others used several methods to smuggle the drugs.

Once on Guam or Palau, Hillbroom would coordinate with locals to sell the methamphetamine, the prosecution added.

Reporter

Bryan Manabat studied criminal justice at Northern Marianas College. He covers the community, tourism, business, police and court beats.

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