Cabrera v. Heirs of De Castro – Case Brief Summary (N.Mariana Islands)

In Cabrera v. Heirs of De Castro, 1 N.M.I. 172 (1990), the trial court granted summary judgment to the heirs of De Castro and concluded that Cabrera failed to raise a genuine issue of fact regarding a partida. The trial court in Cabrera "decided that the affidavits did not rise to the level of setting forth sufficient indicia of a 'partida.'" Id. at 175.

This Court, however, held in Cabrera that the affidavits and pleadings did "point to the possible existence of a 'partida.'" Id. at 177.

Furthermore, the Court noted that "although it is true that the affidavit does not state the time, place, or members present when the 'partida' was made, the declarations made in the affidavit of Mrs Sablan should be viewed in the light most favorable to the opposing party, i.e., that there was a 'partida.'" Id.

The Court concluded that:

"…The elements stated by the lower court necessary to prove a "partida" are elements necessary to prove an ideal "partida." A "partida" is inherently flexible and can be shown through ways other than through the ideal "partida." See Pangelinan v. Tudela, 1 CR 708, 711 (D. NMI App. Div.1983), aff'd, 733 F.2d 1341 (9th Cir. 1986); and In re the Estate of Taisakan, 1 CR 326, 333 (D. NMI App. Div.1982). Plaintiff should be given the opportunity to prove at trial that a "partida" was made…"

(Id. at 178.)

Based on this conclusion, the Court reversed the trial court in Cabrera and remanded for a trial to determine if in fact a partida took place.