The Republic of the Philippines, Regional Trial Court for the National Capital Region, Pasig City Branch 71 has entered a decision on the matter of KTT Corporation, et al. v. Yoshida, et al., Civ No. 70951-PSG in favor of the plaintiffs and relying extensively on the testimony of Michael Dotts regarding CNMI law. The decision was issued on July 22, 2020 and is available here.
The case initially arose on Saipan and involved Shigeki Yoshida claiming a breach of contract related to a real estate transaction. He had been a manager for a Japanese group and when the group was about to sell their property, he claimed a commission. He filed a lawsuit against KTT Corporation, Fukumoto Corporation, Kazuo Kobayashi, and Sakura Kobayash. Yoshida managed to disrupt the real estate transaction by filing his case, but then abandoned the case when the potential buyer pulled out and the sale failed to close. Summary judgment was entered against Yoshida.
KTT Corporation, Kazuo Kobayashi and Sakura Kobayashis then sued Yoshida and Zenaida Taguiam in the CNMI on a claim that Yoshida and Taguiam had wrongfully initiated the original lawsuit. Yoshida and Taguiam failed to defend the action and a judgment of $638,580.62 was entered against them. Yoshida and Taguiam left the CNMI for the Philippines. KTT Corporation and the Kobayashis then sued Yoshida and Taguiam in the Philippines to enforce the CNMI judgment and to execute on assets of Yoshia and Taguiam in the Philippines.
Michael Dotts was called as a witness by the plaintiffs both as to the history of the case in the CNMI and with regard to various matters of CNMI law. His testimony covered general civil procedure, obtaining jurisdiction over a defendant, how courts in the CNMI ensure that the due process rights of defendants are respected, and the enforcement of judgments in the CNMI.
KTT Corporation, Kazuo Kobayashi, and Sakura Kobayashi have now prevailed in the trial court.