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Supreme Court Reverses Trial Court in Family Business Dispute

Saipan, CNMI – On June 24, 2024, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s judgment finding Eun Soo Han (“Han”) liable to his brother-in-law, Sun Ha Park (“Park”), for tortious interference with contract. The lower court’s $90,000 economic, emotional distress, and punitive damages award against Mr. Han has been vacated.


The trial court had determined that Han tortiously interfered with Park’s contract as a director and treasurer of the family business when he signed Park’s name on a document resigning his position. While signing others’ names onto documents was a regular business practice of the company, the court found that Han did not have express authority from his father, Park’s father-in-law, the president of the company, to do so.


On appeal, the Supreme Court held that under common law Han had implied authority from his father to remove Park from his position because Han’s father had bought Park’s entire interest in the company to resolve management disputes between Park and Han. Because a reasonable person in Han’s position would have interpreted his father’s objectives as impliedly giving him authority to remove Park from the company, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s judgment.



2024-PR-0009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JUNE 24, 2024

This press release has been prepared by court staff for the convenience of the public. For further information, contact the Supreme Court at Supreme.Court@NMIJudiciary.gov.

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