Guam – CNMI District Court Judge David Carter has rejected Guam Attorney David Lujan’s motion to dismiss Junior Larry Hillbroom’s fraud and legal malpractice lawsuit.
In a decision filed with the CNMI District Court on Monday of this week, Judge Carter agreed to let stand the 4 most serious of the 6 alleged claims against Lujan.
The Judge concluded that the allegations made by Hillbroom against Lujan are “best resolved at summary judgement and/or trial, and upon consideration of a factual record developed during discovery.”
Junior Larry Hillbroom is the illegitimate son of the late Larry Hillblom, the deceased billionaire founder of DHL. Lujan successfully represented Junior’s claim to a portion of Hillblom’s estate winning a judgment of more than $82 million for Junior who had been living in poverty in Palau.
However, an FBI Agent later alleged to Junior that Lujan had fraudulently raised his contingency fee from 36% to 56%.
That resulted in a lawsuit filed by Junior against Lujan in California in January of this year. That lawsuit was later dismissed on grounds that the California Court lacked jurisdiction. The merits of the case were not ruled on.
Junior’s Attorneys then filed a similar claim in the CNMI in April of this year. In July, Lujan filed a motion to dismiss Junior’s CNMI complaint and have it transferred to Guam.
Junior’s CNMI lawsuit against Lujan alleges:
1. Legal malpractice
2. Breach of Fiduciary Duty
4. Violations of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act [RICO]
5. Civil Conspiracy
6. Violations of the California Business and Professional Code.
In his decision, Judge Carter declined Lujan’s motion to dismiss the legal malpractice claim, the breach of fiduciary duty claim, the fraud claim and the RICO violation claim, allowing those claims to move forward.
The Judge also rejected Lujan’s request to have the lawsuit transferred to Guam.
However, Judge Carter did agree to throw out the 5th and 6th claims.
The claim of Civil Conspiracy was rejected because “‘there is no substantive tort of civil conspiracy’ under Commonwealth law.”
And the claim of violating California Business and Professional Code was also rejected because “Hillbroom’s claim … relies upon conduct that occurred in the Northern Mariana Islands, and not California.”