Judge allows requests for a relief from Puerto Rico stay on lawsuits to go on
SAN JUAN – Judge Laura Taylor Swain agreed Monday to move forward requests for a relief from the stay from two citizens who have civil suits against the government halted in the courts because of the commonwealth bankruptcy process.
The first was filed by Javier Pérez Rivera, who has a claim of discrimination, retaliation and illegal practices against his employer, the Department of Labor and Human Resources. In 2016, he sought arbitration before the Public Service Appellate Commission (CASP for its Spanish initials).
He requests to be reinstated to his job as well as back pay. However, he said his arbitration award has been paralyzed after he got a hearing in April because of the bankruptcy process in federal court.
“Mr. Pérez Rivera is not a public bonds investor, neither a creditor of the Commonwealth. Mr. Pérez Rivera’s claims do not have any relation with the debts…. The stay of Mr. Pérez Rivera’s claims cause irreparable damages, since he is without employment to support the needs of his family and himself,” the request says.
The second request came from Emmanuel Aponte Colón, who sued the government to contest the forfeiture of his car as a result of a criminal investigation.
The basis for contesting the forfeiture is the lack of compliance of the Forfeiture Board with Article 13 of the Forfeiture Act, which states that the forfeiture must be notified by certified mail to the owner and any other person with interest on the vehicle within 30 days from the date the car was seized.
Lawyers for Aponte Colón said he should be allowed to move forward because the property is not needed for the commonwealth’s reorganization.
Judge Swain asked that those opposing the motions submit their brief on June 30 in the case of Aponte Colón and on July 3 in the case of Pérez Rivera.