Lotte will appeal judge’s decision in DFS-airport dispute

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Guam – Lotte Duty Free says it will be appealing a recent decision by Superior Court Judge Arthur Barcinas dismissing its claims against DFS Guam in the years-long airport concession dispute.

“Lotte’s claims against DFS were asserted in good faith and complied with the letter of
the law. Lotte respectfully disagrees with the ruling of the Court to dismiss its claims
against DFS, and it intends to appeal the recent ruling to the Guam Supreme Court,” Lotte said in a statement. “Lotte believes that it shall be vindicated in the end and shall prevail when all the dust settles on this lawsuit.”

DFS scored a victory in the ongoing litigation when Judge Barcinas ruled in DFS’s favor, finding Lotte’s counterclaims in violation of Guam law, granting both DFS’s request for attorneys’ fees and its request for sanctions.

According to court documents, Lotte filed three counterclaims: that DFS interfered with Lotte’s contract with the airport, that DFS maliciously abused the procurement protest process and that DFS maliciously sought to prosecute Lotte by including them in its lawsuit against GIAA.

However, the Court determined that Lotte violated the Citizen Participation in Government Act by launching their counterclaims against DFS, whose conduct was protected under CPGA. As a result, all three counterclaims were dismissed with prejudice.

Barcinas’ pronouncement in particular follows a series of losses for Lotte and GIAA. In 2016, GIAA was found in violation of Guam law when it wrongfully seized DFS’ performance bond. The following year, the Superior Court ruled that GIAA violated another law by refusing to produce pertinent documents surrounding its RFP concession to Lotte.

More recently, the Court ruled earlier this year that GIAA’s contract with Lotte failed to comply with multiple provisions in Guam Procurement Law.

“It is fundamentally unfair that DFS is allowed to pursue its Interference Claim when Lotte on the other hand is denied its right to pursue its Tort Claim against DFS. Lotte intends on appealing this to the Guam Supreme Court. There has never been any finding of wrongdoing by Lotte involving the concession agreement. Lotte did nothing wrong,” said Lotte legal counsel Atty. Cesar Cabot.

You can read Lotte’s statement in full below:

Lotte’s claims against DFS were asserted in good faith and complied with the letter of
the law. Lotte respectfully disagrees with the ruling of the Court to dismiss its claims
against DFS, and it intends to appeal the recent ruling to the Guam Supreme Court.
Lotte believes that it shall be vindicated in the end and shall prevail when all the dust
settles on this lawsuit.

Lotte’s counsel Cesar Cabot stated: “It is fundamentally unfair that DFS is allowed to
pursue its Interference Claim when Lotte on the other hand is denied its right to pursue
its Tort Claim against DFS. Lotte intends on appealing this to the Guam Supreme
Court. There has never been any finding of wrongdoing by Lotte involving the
concession agreement. Lotte did nothing wrong.”

It appears that DFS is continuing its campaign to oust Lotte from the Airport on a
contract Lotte won fair and square. Lotte believes that DFS’ attacks are nothing more
than an attempt to keep its monopoly on Guam and keep competition out.

Anyone that has been to the airport knows how Lotte is performing and can judge for
themselves. The beautiful facilities and products at the airport speak volumes about
Lotte’s significant contributions to our island community. The third floor construction at
the airport to allow for an arrivals corridor was only made possible as a result of Lotte’s
concession rent.

The fact that Lotte continues to operate the Duty-Free Concession at the Airport is
testament to the fact that Lotte did nothing wrong.