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Bluesky denies all claims made by former employee

Bluesky Communications and Pulelei’ite Li’amatu Tufele Jr., the company’s Chief Operating Officer are denying allegations by a former employee, Alex Alan Lara-Ramirez for breach of contract and wrongful termination.

The defendants, in their response, which was filed before the court last month, state that Lara was not subject to performing any extra contractual work.

Pulelei’ite also denies allegations by Lara’s fiancé Norman Veronica Albizures Perez that he failed to incur legal responsibilities as her sponsor. Albizures claims that Pulelei’ite never intended to honor any of his legal duties as her sponsor.

The lawsuit by the former Director of Mobile Switching Center, Lara, is for breach of contract and wrongful termination.  Lara and his fiancé are seeking to be awarded for punitive damages, compensatory damages, incidental and consequential damages, in an amount to be determined at trial.

 Lara claims his problems began when he was given a Digicel document to adapt, and was told by Douglas Creevey to keep the document confidential because it is a Digicel document. Creevey is a former Digicel employee and was Lara’s supervisor.

Bluesky replies that Creevey provided Lara with a template escalation procedures document that he drafted while Creevey was working for Digicel in Vanuatu and asked Lara to use it as an example format for creating a Bluesky escalation procedures document for use in American Samoa. Lara objected, and refused to create a Bluesky escalation document, according to court records.

The Defendants admit that “when Lara refused to create a Bluesky escalation checklist using the example Creevey provided, Pulelei’ite drafted a Bluesky escalation procedure, stating further that Bluesky’s escalation procedure does not contain any confidential information.

Bluesky denies claims by Lara that he did not receive any warning or notification that he would be terminated from employment. Blue Sky says Pulelei’ite had “informed Lara he would be receiving a termination notice prior to the time that he received Bluesky’s formal termination letter.”

Lara claims in his lawsuit that when Bluesky learned that he attained an attorney, his termination date from January 13, 2012 was switched to January 5, 2012, indicating that he was being terminated for not going to work.

In its reply, Blue Sky confirmed they sent Lara a second termination letter terminating him from employment, not because Lara attained a lawyer. Blue Sky explained that Lara’s termination was due to failure to perform his work duties satisfactorily, including, but not limited to, his failure to be physically present at work, refusal to return calls or to communicate with Pulelei’ite and because he was absent from work without leave.

Bluesky also admitted that between January 5, 2012 and January 8, 2012 Lara’s company car was removed, his internet was cut-off, the sim cards for their cell phones were also cut-off. In addition Lara was informed that he needed to vacate his apartment; however Bluesky did not demand that he do so by any specific date.

The defendants also denied allegations that they issued a blanket order to any Bluesky employees to refrain from discussing work related matter with Lara. Bluesky also denies allegations that it refused to unconditionally provide repatriation expenses according to local law.

Bluesky does admit it is Lara’s sponsor, but denies that Lara’s characterizations of the legal requirement in American Samoa law are fully and accurately described as a duty to “pay the return trip to the alien’s native country”.

Bluesky denies that Lara paid $2,600 to Bluesky for the fiancé’s immigration bond, but noted that Lara borrowed $2,600 from Bluesky for the purpose of paying for the fiancé’s immigration bond. The defendant’s also denies that Bluesky gave Pulelei’ite money to pay to the ASG for Albizures’s immigration bond because Bluesky loaned Lara money for that purpose. Lara signed a promissory note providing the terms under which he would repay the funds and Lara’s money was used to pay for his fiancé’s immigration bond.

Bluesky is also denying that they had knowledge that Lara supported Albizures, his fiancé, financially because they do not know the specific details of Lara and Albizures’s personal finances. The defendants neither admit nor deny the allegations by Lara that when Bluesky terminated his employment contract, Bluesky indirectly cut off Lara’s financial support for Albizures.

Bluesky also denies the plaintiffs allegations that they were left in American Samoa without income, stable housing, or means for returning home because Bluesky paid Lara all earned income and significantly additional pay for accrued annual leave in a final pay check.

Bluesky says, they also provided Lara with a ticket back to Mexico, Pulelei’ite provided Albizures with transportation back to Guatemala and Bluesky refrained from serving Lara with a demand for possession of the company’s apartment during the period of time that Lara’s travel plans were being established.

However, after Bluesky made the travel arrangements for Lara and his fiancé they decided to stay in the territory. According to the response, Blue Sky provided the plaintiffs with money, housing and transportation home during the period between the time that Lara’s employment was terminated and the date that the plaintiff’s chose not to return to their home countries. Defense contends that the plaintiff’s remain in American Samoa at their own expense by choice.

In their response Bluesky admits that the contract for Lara provided for a guaranteed salary; however Bluesky denies that Lara was guaranteed a salary if and when he materially failed to perform his obligations under the contract, which is what occurred.

The defendant’s deny that the contract states that Bluesky would pay Lara and Albizures airfare to and from American Samoa because the contract limited such travel benefit to travel from Mexico or the USA and back following the completion of the contract term. Bluesky says in any case, the contract does not provide airfare for Albizures to travel to Guatemala which is her native country.

Finally the defendants requested that the court find that the plaintiffs have no cause for action against them and order that the Plaintiffs compensate them for their costs and attorney fees so wrongfully incurred.

The response by Bluesky also states that Albizures has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted against the defendants for breach of contract, negligent infliction of emotional distress, tort damages or exemplary damages. 

Commenting on Bluesky and Pulelei’ite’s denial of her clients’ allegations, Sharron Rancourt told Samoa News that"Mr. Lara looks forward to litigating this matter in court. Bluesky and Pulelei’ite’s answermischaracterizes and distorts the facts and timing of events including their claims of proposed repatriation and housing. Mr. Lara and Ms. Albizures welcome the opportunity to address their claims in open court and hope to complete their lawsuit soon.”