The Guam Daily Post

12 23Sat11282015


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Back Local News AG still GovGuam solid waste counsel

AG still GovGuam solid waste counsel

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DISTRICT Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood has decided to retain the Attorney General’s Office as GovGuam’s main counsel in the 11-year-old solid waste case.

In April, the Governor's Office asked the court to substitute Deputy Attorney General Patrick Mason with Attorney Sandra C. Miller and Attorney Rawlen Mantanona, citing differences between the governor’s office and the AGO on legal strategies.

Mason is the attorney for GovGuam which includes the Solid Waste Management Division of the Department of Public Works. Since the receiver assumed all the responsibilities, functions, duties and powers of the SWMD, the receiver is also represented by the AGO, which is considered the chief legal officer of GovGuam. The court did decide to allow the law firm of Cabot Mantanona LLP, the private firm retained by Adelup, to represent GovGuam but only for the limited purpose of addressing matters related to the former landowners’ motion to intervene.

Disagreeing with Adelup’s argument that the court should have simply granted the substitution of counsel without requiring further justification once the Governor’s Office discharged the Attorney General, Tydingco-Gatewood ruled that the court “will not rubber-stamp substitutions of counsel presented if there is a justified reason for refusing to do so.”

In denying the full substitution of lawyers, the court considered the role of the AG in the 11 years of litigation, its consistent positions, and valuable institutional knowledge in assisting the federal receiver to bring GovGuam into compliance with the consent decree.

With regard to Adelup’s claim that it was unaware of the assistance being provided by the AG to the receiver, the court called this “specious, frivolous, and without merit,” adding it was a demonstration of Attorney Mantanona’s clear lack of knowledge about the work performed in the case.

The court also said the substitution of the Cabot Mantanona firm for the AG will likely result in substantial delay to the final closure of Ordot Dump.

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