Refund suit plaintiffs willing to talk settlement
by Nick Delgado
Guam - Jeffrey and Rea Paeste and Sharon Zapanta are willing to participate in settlement discussions in their lawsuit against the Government of Guam that seeks the payment of tax refunds. According to a joint status report filed with the District Court, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Orcutt confirms that plaintiff's counsel expressed a willingness to discuss a possible settlement but the Government of Guam has not determined whether such talks would be appropriate.
In the meantime, the parties are preparing for a trial that they estimate will last about ten days, but the government has indicated that the trial could take up to 180 days if 2011 tax refunds are not paid by October of this year. Orcutt noted that if Guam falls behind in paying last year's refunds, the government will have to conduct discovery with individual class members to see if they are in fact owed a refund and if so, the amount that is owed.
The plaintiffs have proposed the trial begin in September of this year while the government has proposed that the trial begin in March of next year.