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CFJ’s Rapadas Participates in Supreme Court of Guam’s First Virtual Appellate Argument

CFJ's Genevieve Rapadas had the honor of being one of the first attorneys to present a virtual appellate argument before the Supreme Court of Guam on May 1, 2020. 

According to a Supreme Court press release, "The Judiciary of Guam kicked off Law Day today by holding a successful virtual appellate argument case via video conference. Chief Justice F. Philip Carbullido, Associate Justice Katherine Maraman, and Associate Justice Robert J. Torres heard the case of Palmer v. Mariana Stones Corp."

"This year, our virtual hearing using Zoom video conferencing software expands our outreach effort  to the entire island," said Chief Justice Carbullido. "We recognize the need to adhere to the stay-at-home directives, but we must also continue the work of our court."

“We are so honored to have been able to take part in this historic event and are pleased at how flawlessly it went. Although there is a lot of uncertainty right now, it is important that people are still able to have their day in court which we were able to accomplish today," said Rapadas.

The case arises from a contract dispute between Roseana Palmer, who is represented by CFJ, and a construction company, Mariana Stones Corporation (“MSC”). In 2011, Mrs. Palmer and MSC entered into a lease agreement wherein MSC would lease Mrs. Palmer’s Urunao property, located less than a kilometer away from the Guam National Wildlife Refuge. The Lease Agreement allowed the company to extract minerals from her property. However, the only way to access her property in Urunao was through an easement on federal property. In order to transport the aggregate from Mrs. Palmer’s property to their facility, MSC was required to obtain a special permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service denied the permit and MSC refused to make any monthly payments under the Lease Agreement to Mrs. Palmer despite being presented with alternative accessways that MSC never explored.  In 2013, Mrs. Palmer sued MSC for breach of contract and prevailed after a bench trial in the Superior Court. Marianas Stones Corp. then appealed to the Supreme Court of Guam.