Terlaje opposes government’s motion to dismiss false arrest case

(PNC photo)

Pedro Terlaje, who sued the government of Guam for wrongful arrest in 2017, is opposing the government’s motion to dismiss the $1 million  lawsuit filed in federal court.

Guam – In a lawsuit filed in November 2018, Terlaje alleged he was wrongfully arrested and detained the airport police officers, in violation of his civil and constitutional rights.

While the government has argued it cannot be sued, Terlaje’s attorney countered that the airport is “a distinct person acting under color of territorial law and can be sued as it is not the territory of Guam.”

He argued that the federal court has jurisdiction over the matter.

Court documents state that while the airport cited several cases to support its argument that it could not be held liable for “the unconstitutional acts committed by the airport police officer,” Terlaje pointed out that not one case involved a separate corporate body such as the one created by Guam law, establishing the “person” of the Guam International Airport Authority.

Terlaje’s attorney further argued that the territory of Guam waived its sovereign immunity liability for the corporate entity of the airport.

This means that the limitation of liability of airport police officers for torts including false arrests is waived by Guam law.

In suing the government, Terlaje argued that arresting police officer was outside of the airport jurisdiction and therefore did not have legal authority to make the arrest.

Terlaje was arrested following a car accident on Governor Carlos Camacho Road in Tamuning in April 2017.

He was released from custody 27 hours later  and the government did not pursue any charges against him.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.