Judge Sukola's Order Conflicts with Judge Bordallo's – Supreme Court Review Pending
May 29, 2019 – Tamuning, Guam – The Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport Authority, Guam ("GIAA") filed motions today requesting that Judge Sukola stay and reconsider her May 14 Decision and Order ("May 14 Order") requiring the disclosure of attorney-client privilege communications. In the May 14 Order, Judge Sukola ordered GIAA to turn over to DFS the transcript of an April 26 executive session of the GIAA board of directors related to litigation in which DFS is an adversary to GIAA. The issue of disclosure of attorney-client communications in GIAA board executive sessions relating to the long-standing litigation between DFS and GIAA is presently with the Guam Supreme Court pending decision.
"GIAA respectfully, but strongly disagrees, with the May 14 Order, which directly conflicts with an earlier order issued by Judge Bordallo in a related case," said Kathleen Fisher, GIAA's attorney for this matter. "Judge Bordallo, unlike Judge Sukola, reviewed the transcript and found it to be subject to attorney-client privilege because the matters under discussion involved GIAA's litigation with DFS. DFS appealed Judge Bordallo's decision and the issue has been briefed and argued before the Guam Supreme Court."
"GIAA looks forward to the Guam Supreme Court's pending decision about the release of the transcript," added Fisher. "In the meantime, we're calling upon Judge Sukola to reconsider her order and finding of contempt, which was premature since it was issued in advance of a show cause hearing and unfair because if carried out would compromise GIAA's ability to defend itself in the ongoing litigation with DFS over the airport duty free concession contract."
As today's motion for reconsideration states: "the Court should grant GIAA's motion for reconsideration in the interests of justice. The Contempt Order is based on questions of statutory interpretation that are intertwined with pending appeals already under advisement by the Supreme Court. This Court's interpretation of the OGL is inconsistent with contrary rulings by the Hon. Michael J. Bordallo, and the sanction issued undermines this Court's previous rulings denying DFS injunctive relief. If the OGL is ‘ambiguous,' as this Court found, the Supreme Court should resolve the ambiguities. In the meantime, it is simply unjust for this Court to find that GIAA and its counsel made a ‘material misrepresentation' and hold GIAA in contempt for relying on a reasonable interpretation of an ambiguous statute in the absence of any court order to the contrary."
"All of us at GIAA are committed to transparency and open government – I understand we have in fact produced over 13,500 pages of documents in response to DFS's 117 Sunshine Act requests over the course of the airport duty free concession litigation," said GIAA Executive Manager Tom Ada. "This litigation has gone on for over six years. It is clear from all that has transpired that GIAA is protecting one of the Airport's, the Government's and the People of Guam's most valuable assets – the Lotte duty free concession contract which has allowed the Airport to achieve financial stability while adding needed infrastructure like the new Arrivals corridor. DFS on the other hand is pursuing its own private and business interests."
"Everything we know about this matter tells us that DFS is trying to obtain an unfair advantage in their ongoing litigation, while hiding their scorched earth litigation tactics and PR campaign under a smokescreen of ‘open government,'" added Ada. "GIAA would be violating our obligation to the public by releasing attorney-client communications to an adversary in the midst of intense on-going litigation."
For any questions, please contact Genevieve Rapadas at 646-9355 or [email protected]