Slider
Slider

|

Slider

IPI denies defamation allegation

Local
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

IMPERIAL Pacific International has denied the defamation allegation of one of its former construction contractors.

USA Fanter Corporation Ltd. accused IPI of making libelous statements in a press release it transmitted to and published by the two local newspapers, Marianas Variety and Saipan Tribune.

IPI, through attorney Cong Nie, has asked the federal court to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice. Nie also demanded a jury trial.

Nie said USA Fanter’s recovery is barred by the substantial truth doctrine.

“The gist of IPI’s statement was that it believed that USA Fanter exaggerated the quantity of work it had performed and that had fair market rates been used to calculate contract payments, then the amount due would have been even lower. This is, upon information and belief, true. To the extent there are inaccuracies in IPI’s statement, they are immaterial because had the exact truth [been] disclosed, the same gist would have been conveyed,” Nie said.

He added that USA Fanter’s recovery is barred, in whole or in part, by the litigation privilege.

“At the time IPI issued the statement, USA Fanter had complained about the non-payment of the contract publicly and had threatened IPI with a lawsuit. A lawsuit by USA Fanter to seek payment on the underlying contract was imminent and USA Fanter did shortly thereafter file suit with this court to seek payment on the underlying contract. The substances of IPI’s statement were defenses then contemplated in good faith by IPI,” Nie said.

USA Fanter has failed to mitigate its damages Nie added.

The lawyer said USA Fanter failed to adequately plead what its reputation was prior to IPI’s statement and what damages were caused by IPI’s statement.

Nie said USA Fanter also “failed to satisfy the condition precedent in bringing the lawsuit by failing to mediate with IPI.”

USA Fanter, through attorney Samuel I. Mok, asked the District Court for the NMI to find IPI liable and award damages to the plaintiff.

 According to the 17-page lawsuit, the press release issued by IPI was in reference to certain construction work performed by USA Fanter with respect to the VIP wing and exterior work of the IPI hotel-casino project in Garapan and was quoted extensively by the two local newspapers.

“Specifically, IPI stated that USA Fanter purportedly lied about the actual construction work performed, issued false reports, forged project quantity numbers, forged a payment, fabricated units of material used, fabricated prices, and [sent] double bills for work performed,” Mok said.

He added that it was only after USA Fanter complained to the Commonwealth Casino Commission that IPI suddenly accused USA Fanter of disreputable and illegal business practices with respect to the work performed for the project.

In a separate lawsuit in federal court,  USA Fanter has accused IPI of refusing to pay  the plaintiff $2.089 million for completed construction work under a contract.

previous arrow
next arrow
Shadow
Slider

Read more articles

Visit our Facebook Page

previous arrow
next arrow
Shadow
Slider