EDUARDO Fabia and Art Man Environment Corp. told the Superior Court that the Department of Public Safety has refused to provide investigation information on the fatal collision that occurred on Feb. 1, 2021.
Fabia and his employer, Art Man, were named as defendants in the civil lawsuits of Khorshed Alam, personal representative of the late Raju Miah and Rommel Irang.
Through attorney Viola Alepuyo, Alam has filed a complaint alleging wrongful death against Fabia and vicarious viability against Art Man.
Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio has granted the defendants’ motion to stay and order a limited stay of proceedings in the civil lawsuit, until the resolution of the related traffic criminal case.
In her order, Judge Kim-Tenorio noted that Fabia and Art Man, represented by attorney Thomas Clifford, sent an Open Government Act letter to DPS to gather information about the wreck.
“Defendants claim that the CNMI government refused to produce any information relating to its ongoing investigation. Defendants also claim to have sent a letter to the CNMI Department of Public Works to gain more information on the traffic lights at issue, but allegedly no formal response has been received,” the judge added.
Judge Kim-Tenorio stated that her Sept. 10, 2021 stay order “shall act as a complete stay of proceedings, with the exception of discovery that is time-sensitive, due to the unique geographical concerns of the CNMI.”
She said such “discovery may include, but is not limited to, circumstances where certain medical professionals or contracted employees must be deposed before leaving the CNMI and becoming unavailable. For all such discovery, the parties shall first submit a request to the court, explaining the circumstances that necessitate prompt discovery.”
On March 15, 2021, Rommel Irang filed a separate complaint alleging negligence against Fabia, and vicarious liability against Art Man. Irang is represented by attorney Matthew Holley.
On March 25, 2021, the court granted the stipulation to amend the case title to reflect both plaintiffs.
Fabia, 49, was identified as the driver of the garbage compactor truck that collided with a Honda Ridgeline pick-up truck at the Puerto Rico intersection on Feb. 1, 2021.
According to DPS, the two passengers in the pickup truck were riding in the bed of the Honda Ridgeline and were thrown out of the vehicle during the collision. Both were rushed to the hospital where one of them was pronounced dead on arrival. The other passenger was treated and admitted for serious injuries.
The vehicle operator was treated and released while the two occupants of the garbage truck — Fabia and his passenger, Christopher Lucero — were not injured.
The pickup truck passenger who died was Raju Miah while the other passenger, Rommel Irang, sustained serious injuries. The pickup’s driver/operator, Quin C. Manglona, was treated at the hospital and discharged.
Fabia was charged by the government with homicide by vehicle, traffic signal violations, speeding, and reckless driving. In the traffic case, Fabia is represented by Assistant Public Defender Vena Seelam.
Fabia has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and his jury trial has been set for Dec. 6, 2021 at 9 a.m.