DISTRICT Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has granted the request of attorney George Hasselback to withdraw from representing Imperial Pacific International LLC and Forson Holdings (CNMI) LLC in the lawsuit filed by Fox Financial over breach of contract and breach of guarantee allegations.

ramona manglona

Ramona V. Manglona

Hasselback earlier filed his intention of withdrawing as counsel for IPI in six civil lawsuits, including Fox Financial’s.

He asked the court to set the hearing date for the motion to withdraw for Feb. 11, 2021 at 1:30 p.m., adding that a personal representative for IPI should attend the hearing.

Magistrate Judge Heather Kennedy issued a report and recommendation on Hasselback’s motion to withdraw on Feb. 12, 2021.

“The court finds that Hasselback’s statements that continued representation in this matter would cause him to violate several ethical obligations trigger mandatory withdrawal under Model Rule 1.16(a) and is sufficient for granting his motion,” the magistrate judge said.

She added that the model rules, related comments and case law support the court’s decision: “Hasselback need not be required to provide details, beyond his written motion, to establish that mandatory withdrawal is warranted.”

She said requiring him “to specify the basis for his mandatory withdrawal could create the untenable situation of an attorney having to choose between his obligation of candor to the court and his obligation to maintain his client’s confidences.”

Furthermore, she said, “while withdrawal may cause some delay, that delay is not so much so that it would cause significant prejudice or adversely and materially affect the plaintiff.”

Judge Kennedy ordered IPI to find representation by Feb. 26, 2021.

On Feb. 19, 2021, Judge Manglona adopted the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation.

She also said that because the defendants cannot defend themselves in court without an attorney, their “failure to retain new counsel may result in an order to show cause on why the court should not impose further sanctions.”

According to the lawsuit filed by Fox Financial, in 2016, Forson Holdings subleased a 21-unit apartment complex from Fox Financial with a guarantee from IPI that it would pay Forson Holdings’ obligation under the sublease if Forson Holdings failed to pay Fox.

As of February 2020, the lawsuit stated, Forson Holdings had failed to pay Fox Financial more than $100,000 due under the sublease. IPI, for its part, failed to honor its promise to pay Forson Holdings’ obligations.

Hasselback also represented IPI in the lawsuits of Pacific Rim Land Development LLC, Tang’s Corporation, Sardini Group LLC, Johhny M. Aquino Professional Corporation, and Pingshun Corporation.

All lawsuits alleged breach of contract and/or non-payment of services rendered.

Reporter

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

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