Court orders solid waste operations turned over to GSWA Board
At an April 24 status hearing on the United States versus Government of Guam case concerning the Guam Solid Waste Authority, the court and parties discussed financing for the construction of Cell 3 at the Layon Landfill, the revised financing plan for the post-closure care of the Ordot Dump and other issues related to the transition of management and control over the GSWA to the GSWA Board.

After the hearing the court issued an order stating the GSWA Board will have administrative and managerial responsibility over GSWA’s day-to-day operations from May 1.   

The United States renewed its request that the GWCA continue its efforts with the tasks associated with the post-closure plan for the Ordot Dump. The work that remains includes implementing a remediation plan for potentially explosive gases, completing the development of a groundwater monitoring program and expanding the leachate monitoring program. The GSWA Board and the Government of Guam requested that GWCA complete this work as a contractor rather than in its current role as a receiver. Due to conflicting opinions of both parties as to the role of the receiver, the court declined to take a position on the matter at this time. 


Discrimination lawsuit filed against NMI university
Zaji O. Zajradhara filed a lawsuit against CWM International Inc. which does business as Eucon International University on May 6. The action is under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Zajradhara alleged that CWM intentionally discriminated against him because he is of Afro-Latino descent and is dark skinned, and additionally terminated him in retaliation.

Zajradhara filed a labor case and EEOC complaint against CWM in February 2018 after he was not hired for a position and the job was given to a non-U.S. citizen. On May 14, 2018 CWM settled both the labor case and pending EEOC charge. In a stipulated settlement CWM unconditionally hired Zajradhara as an office employee starting in October 2018. Zajradhara was required to drop the EEOC charge as part of the stipulation, which he did.

Zajradhara alleged when he reported to work in October, the CWM presented him with several documents including a faculty contract and an appended statement of faith. He was told he must sign the documents as a stipulation of employment. Zajradhara alleged this was not disclosed to him during the settlement discussions and that the labor case settlement did not require him to sign or acknowledge any documents. He signed some documents but noted that he had his own ancestral religious ideology.

On his third day of employment Zajradhara was terminated and was told his termination was because his dress was not in accord with CWM’s religious identity. Zajradhara received a letter from CWM on Oct. 12, 2018 stating his termination was due to his refusal to accept essential employment documents and because his religious views were in conflict with those espoused by CWM.


Resort pays for discriminating against sex and disability
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Polaris Guam LLC which does business as Verona Resort & Spa agreed to a consent decree on May 13. The EEOC filed an action against Verona in July 2017 for violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The action alleged that the defendant discriminated against Rita Siguenza, a pregnant woman with gestational diabetes, on the basis of sex and disability when Verona failed to provide her with reasonable accommodation and then discharged her soon after she requested accommodation.

The decree states Verona will pay $15,871.56 (plus applicable interest) to Siguenza. It additionally states that Verona and its employees may not retaliate against any current or former employees that were identified as witnesses, assisted with the investigation, opposed any practice made unlawful under Title VII and ADA, filed a charge, or sought relief under the decree. The defendant must also retain a third-party equal employment opportunity monitor to monitor compliance with Title VII and ADA. Verona must also review, revise, distribute and implement its policies and procedures against discrimination and retaliation prohibited by Title VII and ADA.   


Court orders airport to release meeting minutes
On May 15 the Guam Superior Court declared that the Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport Authority must release minutes from a closed-door meeting held on April 26 to DFS. DFS requested the minutes, stating the airport is required to share them under the Sunshine Act, as part of its ongoing legal battle with the airport.

In a May 16 release GIAA stated it disagreed with the court’s decision and order. “It is the airport’s position that the document in question — the April 26 transcript of an executive session of the GIAA board of directors — is not subject to the Sunshine Act since it involves privileged conversations between the Board and its legal counsel regarding the pending litigation with DFS that is currently the subject of an appeal before the Supreme Court,” Genevieve Rapadas, GIAA’s attorney, said.

According to Rapadas the transcript was not subject to discovery due to attorney/client privilege. “In aggressively pursuing these and other transcripts and privileged material through the discovery process, DFS is seeking to gain an unfair advantage in the litigation against GIAA,” Rapadas said. “Communications between DFS and its lawyers are protected by the attorney/client privilege, yet DFS claims public agencies like GIAA should not be afforded the same protection. This would give private litigants such as DFS an unfair advantage over the public agencies such as the airport in litigation.”


Lawsuit filed after death of newborn
Twaylla and Charles Taitague filed a lawsuit against Guam Regional Medical City, Dr. Katrina Ibonia and John Doe Insurance company for the wrongful death of their six-day-old daughter, Faith Petra Taitague.

Twaylla gave birth to Faith, one of twin girls, at GRMC. Faith was admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit by Ibonia due to prematurity, respiratory distress, feeding concerns and thermoregulation instability. In the ICU Faith developed an infection from an IV placed in her right hand by hospital staff. Faith later went into cardiac arrest and passed away after failed resuscitation efforts. A few days later Faith’s blood culture results were positive for MSRA.

The plaintiffs are asking for $11 million in damages for the negligence of Dr. Ibonia and GRMC.


Parents of deceased child file negligence lawsuit
David Lubofsky and Cristine Simbahan filed a lawsuit against Dr. Shishin Miyagi, Ethan Snider, the Seventh Day Adventist Clinic and John Doe Insurance company for the wrongful death of their five-year-old son, Asher Dean Lubofsky.

David Lubofsky brought his son to Miyagi at the SDA Clinic on Oct. 29, 2018. Lubofsky alleged he told  Miyagi that his son had various symptoms, but Miyagi did not note these facts, assured Lubofsky there was nothing wrong and discharged Asher from his care.  

Lubofsky returned to the SBA Clinic with his son the next day as his medical condition had worsened. At that time, Snider, after having seen and assessed Asher, told Lubofsky Asher should be taken to the hospital. Lubofsky requested Snider to give him a referral to the Guam Memorial Hospital, Snider refused but told Lubofsky he would call the hospital to inform them of their arrival.

Upon arrival to the hospital Lubofsky learned Snider had not called ahead. Asher was admitted to the Guam Memorial Hospital and died the following morning after failed resuscitation efforts.   

The plaintiffs are asking for $11 million in damages for the negligence of Miyagi, Snider and the SDA Clinic.


Updates in condo case
In 2016 Ty J. Jacot and SET Pacific Inc. filed a lawsuit against Jay D. and Rita S. Miller. The suit alleged the Millers sold a condo unit that was partially owned by Jacot for $1.6 million without his knowledge — a profit of $500,000 over the 2005 purchase price. Shortly after selling the condo, the Millers left Guam without sharing the proceeds with Jacot. Jacot alleges the Millers owe him a third of the profits. The condo had originally been purchased by SET Pacific and was later transferred to the Jay and Rita Miller Trust in 2010 with a continuous agreement between Jacot and the Millers (see “Former construction company shareholders sued over sale of company property” in the Sept. 19, 2016 issue of the Journal). 

The plaintiffs filed a motion for a summary judgement against Jacot and SET. In a May 22 court order the judge granted the motion for summary judgement against SET and dismissed SET from the lawsuit. However, the motion for a summary judgement against Jacot was denied. mbj