U.S. Supreme Court rejects plebiscite appeal
The United States Supreme Court rejected the government of Guam’s attempt to appeal a federal appellate court’s ruling striking down Guam’s plebiscite law, according to a Nov. 6 release from the office of Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero.

The plebiscite law, which restricts a non-binding vote on the preferred political status of Guam to native inhabitants of Guam, was challenged by Guam citizen Arnold “Dave” Davis and struck down by two federal courts.

The restriction of the vote to native inhabitants as defined by the Organic Act of Guam is based on the reasoning that Guam’s native inhabitants have been uniquely denied the right to self-determination.

The plebiscite law was struck down based on the reasoning that it is a form of racial discrimination and a violation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.


Ambulance company executives plead guilty to fraud and money laundering
Former Guam Medical Transport owners Clifford P. Shoemake and Casey Connor, as well as former GMT employee Nicholas Shoemake, pleaded guilty in the District Court of Guam to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and conspiracy to engage in monetary transactions with the proceeds of specified unlawful activity, according to an Oct. 29 release.

The defendants admitted to engaging in conspiracy to defraud Medicare and Tricare by submitting claims for reimbursement for medically unnecessary ambulance services and to engaging in money transactions involving the proceeds of their scheme.

To date, five former GMT owners and employees have pleaded guilty to their role in the scheme and one former employee pleaded guilty to obstructing justice.


Guam Superior Court issues summary judgment decision in Kinden vs GRMC and DCK
The Superior Court of Guam on Nov. 4 granted in part and denied in part Guam Regional Medical City’s motion for a summary judgment on Kinden Corp.’s claims against GRMC and DCK Pacific Guam LLC, DCK Worldwide LLC and other unnamed defendants.

Kinden filed against the defendants claiming it is owed money due to delays in construction of GRMC hospital, attempting to foreclose a mechanic’s lien, as well as unjust enrichment and quantum meruit claims. The defendants moved for a summary judgment in response.

The court denied parts of the motion pertaining to allegations Kinden failed to file a timely mechanic’s lien and that its claims for pre-judgment interest are invalid. The court granted summary judgment on Kinden’s unjust enrichment and quantum meruit claims as well as its attempt to seek delay damages.


Guam joins multi-billion-dollar opioid settlement talks
The Attorney General of Guam joined settlement discussions in the multi-state Purdue Pharmaceutical case involving the company’s opioid drug OxyContin, according to an Oct. 26 release. The award is valued at more than $3 billion and is expected to increase after liquidation of Purdue’s assets. Guam will receive a portion of the settlement.

The AG’s office is also involved in a separate settlement discussion pertaining to opioids produced by other pharmaceutical companies, which is expected to be about $48 billion.


Guam AG joins Facebook antitrust investigation
Guam Attorney General Leevin T. Camacho joined a bipartisan antitrust investigation into Facebook, according to an Oct. 28 release. The investigation is led by New York Attorney General Letitia James and includes the attorney generals of more than 30 states and the District of Columbia.


Guam Superior Court dismisses Bank of Guam overdue collection attempt
The Superior Court of Guam on Nov. 5 granted Krista K. Gaza’s motion to dismiss Bank of Guam’s attempt to collect more than $43,000 worth of promissory notes. The dismissal was granted under Guam Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b), which allows dismissal based on a plaintiff’s failure to prosecute.

Bank of Guam in February 2015 filed an action to collect on the promissory notes, which Gaza allegedly defaulted on in 2013. The case stayed inactive until 2019, when Bank of Guam filed multiple amended complaints and summons.

The court found that Bank of Guam did not show Gaza had notice of the case or that she attempted to conceal a defect in or evade service, and that the bank did not demonstrate good cause for its failure to serve Gaza in a timely manner. mbj