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IPI in ‘financial turmoil’

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IMPERIAL Pacific International “is in financial turmoil at the moment,” its treasury director, Frances Mafnas, told the federal court on Monday.

District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona on Friday ordered the financial officer of IPI to certify that all bank statements and records were submitted to the plaintiffs last week and to identify which bank statements and records were submitted to the plaintiffs.

Judge Manglona also ordered IPI to comply with a previous discovery order in the lawsuit of seven workers who are alleging labor violations.

Non-compliance will result in an issuance of an order to show cause why a default judgement should not be issued against IPI, the judge added.

In her declaration, Mafnas said IPI submitted two productions of bank records, one on June 1 and the other on June 4.

“The second production on June 4, 2020 was meant to supplement the deficiencies in the first production; however, upon review of both submissions, I realized that there remained missing bank statements and records. Also missing in the first and second submissions were random pages because my staff failed to copy back-to-back some pages,” Mafnas said.

As for the fourth submission, Mafnas said: “I have reviewed page-by-page every single bank statement and record to ensure complete submission.”

Mafnas told the court that her department is understaffed as it has furloughed two staffers. “I am severely understaffed and IPI is in financial turmoil at the moment.”

The deficiencies in the first and second submissions were unintentional mistakes due to this lack of staffing and turmoil in the company, Mafnas said.

She said she had corrected these deficiencies in the fourth submission of bank statements and records.

“IPI will produce this fourth, accurate, full, and complete set of bank statements and records from August 2014 to March 2017 today [Monday],” Mafnas added.

Non-payment

IPI attorney Michael Dotts, for his part, told the court that it has not paid the sanctions and costs due on June 5.

He asked the court to extend the time to pay the sanctions and costs for an additional 60 days.

“IPI has been closed since mid-March due to Covid-19 pandemic and has no income,” he added.

“IPI’s parent company has been funding payroll and some other costs, but has not indicated a willingness to pay the costs associated with this case at this time,” Dotts said.

The pandemic has also affected China where the parent company of IPI is based, and funding even just payroll has been difficult for the parent company, he added.

Dotts said he has been working with IPI to arrange payment on a daily basis.

“On Saturday, June 6, I was informed that payments might be made. I met with IPI on Sunday, June 7, 2020 and received the unfortunate news that the sanctions and costs could still not be paid,” the lawyer said.

The sanctions and costs that have not been paid amount to $122,449, he added.

On May 6, Judge Manglona sanctioned IPI for attorneys’ fees and costs related to the first motion to compel in the amount of $29,459.

On May 29, the federal court ordered IPI to pay Litigation Edge $30,990. Dotts noted that the vendor, Litigation Edge, has demanded $26,000 more than the contract amount and has been negotiating for an additional payment of $85,000.

Judge Manglona likewise ordered IPI to pay $20,000 to Litigation Edge to transfer its data to an Amazon Web Services or AWS account controlled by the plaintiffs.

The payments were due on June 5.

As for the $42,000 payment to the plaintiffs to cover their e-discovery costs, Dotts said IPI is objecting, as there was no noticed motion and no supporting evidence to justify this amount.

Litigation Edge is a vendor used by IPI to download electronically stored information requested by the plaintiffs who sued IPI and its former contractor and subcontractor: MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co. and Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI).

Represented by attorneys Aaron Halegua and Bruce Berline, the plaintiffs are Tianming Wang, Dong Han, Yongjun Meng, Liangcai Sun, Youli Wang, Qingchun Xu, and Duxin Yan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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