Court rejects marijuana suit against GovGuam
The District Court of Guam on Sept. 6 submitted a report and recommendation to deny a motion for summary judgment in a complaint against Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero and the government of Guam. The motion for summary judgment stems from an April 14 complaint filed by Sedfrey M. Linsangan which sought to have the Guam Cannabis Industry Act of 2019 declared null and void, enjoin the government of Guam from making rules and regulations for the sale and distribution of marijuana, and declare that the governor and legislature of Guam committed official misconduct and violated federal law by making marijuana legal.
The court recommended the motion for summary judgment be denied on the basis that as a private citizen, Linsangan does not have standing to enforce federal law; did not base his claim on a threat of real, concrete and imminent harm but rather on a generalized threat to the overall well-being of society; and the government of Guam, by legalizing marijuana, did not violate the federal Controlled Substances Act. Linsangan has 14 days to lodge an objection.
Guam AG sues opioid and PFAS manufacturers
Attorney General of Guam Leevin T. Camacho on Aug. 20 filed suit against opioid manufacturers Purdue Pharma LP, Purdue Pharma Inc., The Purdue Frederick Co. Inc. and Purdue Transdermal Technologies LP.
The suit alleges the Purdue family of companies distributed and marketed on Guam the opioid OxyContin — which the companies also manufacture — without fully disclosing its effects and disseminating misleading information about its benefits, in violation of Title 5, Chapter 32 — the Deceptive Acts and Prohibited Practices statute — of the Guam Code Annotated.
The suit requests a trial to seek an injunction on the defendants that on Guam prevents them from engaging in any marketing practices for their opioid products; requires them to disclose all information on the effects of their products; disgorge all ill-gotten gains; and to pay civil penalties, punitive damages and attorney and court fees.
On Sept. 5, Camacho filed suit against eight companies seeking relief for contamination of Guam’s natural resources by a family of chemicals called polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. The suit alleges the defendants — The 3M Co., Tyco Fire Products L.P., Chemguard Inc., Buckeye Fire Equipment Co., Kidde-Fenwal Inc., National Foam Inc., E.I. Du Pont De Nemours Inc. and Co. and The Chemours Co. — sold fire-fighting chemicals to various agencies on Guam without fully disclosing environmental and health risks.
The suit requests a trial to find the defendants liable for all costs to investigate and remediate environmental damage, pay restitution to Guam, disgorge all ill-gotten gains, pay punitive damages and all attorney and court fees and all other relief to which the island is entitled.
Presidential memorandum expedites student loan relief for veterans
President Donald J. Trump on Aug. 21 issued a presidential memorandum expediting the discharge of federal student loans for military veterans who are totally and permanently disabled.
Guam Attorney General Leevin T. Camacho signed with 50 other attorney generals a May 24 letter to Secretary of Education Elisabeth P. DeVos calling on the federal government to ease the administrative burden on totally and permanently disabled veterans who qualify for student loan relief.
According to the letter, although disabled veterans are entitled to such relief under the Higher Education Act, the current application procedure requires positive steps on the part of the applicant that are prohibitive for many totally and permanently disabled veterans. As a result, many qualified veterans don’t avail themselves of the benefit.
Environmental group sues Trump administration over Marianas
Tucson-based environmental non-profit group, the Center for Biological Diversity, on Aug. 26 filed a notice of intent to sue the administration of President Donald J. Trump for failing to protect habitats considered critical for 23 endangered species on Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia.
In 2015 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the 23 plant and animal species as endangered or threatened. The Endangered Species Act requires the Fish and Wildlife Service to designate critical habitats for any threatened or endangered species. The lawsuit alleges that the agency has failed to do so.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denies IPI appeal
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Aug. 26 denied Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC’s appeal to prevent the Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth Casino Commission from disclosing IPI’s financial information.
IPI filed a complaint on July 12 alleging the Casino Commission sought to disclose financial information which IPI claimed is confidential. The Casino Commission claimed the information was provided to the commission by IPI with the knowledge that it was to be publicly disclosed. On Aug. 6, the U.S. District Court of the Northern Mariana Islands found that IPI’s request for a preliminary injunction preventing the release of information was not warranted. IPI filed its appeal on Aug. 7. mbj