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7 workers ask court to sanction IPI

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THE seven workers who sued Imperial Pacific International is asking the federal court to sanction the Saipan casino investor for violating the judges’ discovery orders.

The plaintiffs — Tianming Wang, Dong Han, Yongjun Meng, Liangcai Sun, Youli Wang, Qingchun Xu, and Duxin Yan — have alleged that they were victims of a forced labor and human trafficking scheme while employed by IPI’s contractor and subcontractor.

In their 47-page first amended complaint, the workers named as defendants IPI and its former contractor and subcontractor MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co. and Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI).

The seven workers, through New York lawyer Aaron Halegua, wanted the federal court to issue an order directing IPI to produce the records they requested.

In his most recent motion, Halegua wants the District Court for the NMI to impose sanctions against IPI for violation of multiple discovery orders by the court.

Halegua said IPI violated the initial order of the court to produce discovery by Jan. 13, 2020, and violated the stipulation granted by the court requiring IPI to produce all discovery by Feb. 24, 2020.

The plaintiffs said the court should treat IPI’s “failure to obey the court’s order as a contempt of court violation and to impose a civil contempt sanction of $5,000 per day payable to court until IPI complies.”

The plaintiffs said the court should also warn IPI that “any further noncompliance will result in harsher sanctions, up to and including striking its affirmative defenses, striking its pleadings, or entering a default judgment.”

Likewise, the plaintiffs’ motion asked the court to award the seven workers attorney’s fees in connection with IPI’s “disobedience of the court’s prior discovery orders, and to impose any other sanctions that the court deems justified.”

IPI has denied all the allegations of the seven workers. It stated that the plaintiffs voluntarily, knowingly, and illegally entered the CNMI to work.

The jury trial is scheduled to start on Feb. 2, 2021 at 10 a.m.

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