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Guam attorney David J. Lujan is US$3.8 million richer after a Superior Court judge awarded him shares from the US$400-million Larry Hillblom estate based on a 20-year-old legal deal.
In a default judgement issued on 02 February, Superior Court Judge Arthur Barcinas upheld Lujan’s claims for breach of contract against his former client Junior Larry Hillbroom, son and heir of the late DHL founder. Lujan sued Hillbroom and a former estate trustee, Keith A. Waibel, for nonpayment of legal representation fees and reneging on the terms of two retainer agreements — one in 1998 and another in 1999. Waibel resigned as a trustee in December 2013.
Hillbroom and Waibel did not show up at the court hearing on Nov. 21, 2017, leaving Lujan’s claims unopposed and prompting Barcinas to grant his motion for partial summary judgment. “Based on the merits of (Lujan’s) motion and evidence presented in this case, and because there are no material facts in dispute, the court finds that the plaintiff has established a breach of contract as a matter of law,” the court’s decision states.
Lujan represented the young Hillbroom in 1998 in one of the most celebrated court dramas following the death of the millionaire Larry Hillblom, who fathered several children across the Pacific. A global settlement agreement and final distribution of assets capped the probate proceedings on April 7, 2000. Hillbroom— born to a Palauan mother, Kaylani Kinney, who met Hillblom in a Palauan bar when she was 16— was one of the four children who inherited the DHL founder’s fortune after a sensational estate battle on Saipan.
Under the 1998 retainer’s agreement, Lujan is entitled to US$2.25 million, or 38 percent of the gross amount Hillbroom recovered from the estate. Under the 1999 agreement, Lujan stands to receive US$1.54 million, or 26 percent, of the Junior Larry Hillbroom Trust.
Lujan is to share the windfall with his co-counsel, who was not identified in the court document. Hillblom died in a plane crash on May 21, 1995 on a flight from Pagan Island to Saipan. The bodies of the pilot, Robert Long, and a business partner were recovered, but Hillblom's body was never found.
Meanwhile, Junior Hilbroom, now 34 and is living in Palau, has been in and out of jail. While awaiting trial for drug trafficking In 2016, Hillbroom was arrested against last year on new charges of selling methampethamine.
SOURCE: PACIFIC ISLAND TIMES/PACNEWS
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