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Contempt sanctions against IPI to continue until it satisfies discovery order

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CONTEMPT sanctions against Imperial Pacific International will continue until it produces the requested discovery in the lawsuit filed by seven construction workers, District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona said.

On Friday, at a show cause hearing, the judge entered a default judgement against IPI for failing to comply with court sanctions and previous discovery orders.

 According to the minutes of the hearing, the judge found enough evidence indicating that IPI committed a willful violation.

 She ordered IPI to produce the requested discovery.  “Contempt sanctions will continue until IPI satisfies those responsibilities,” she added.

 At the hearing, the judge also granted in part the plaintiffs’ request to negotiate with Litigation Edge but with participation from IPI.

  Litigation Edge is a vendor used by IPI to download electronically stored information requested by the plaintiffs.

But the judge denied without prejudice the plaintiffs’ request for entry of judgement for attorney’s fees.

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

 They sued IPI and its contractor and subcontractor MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co. and Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI) over allegations of forced labor, negligence, and liability for employees of subcontractors.

The plaintiffs are seeking an unspecified amount in damages and monetary compensation for their injuries, pain and suffering.

On Friday, Judge Manglona directed the plaintiffs to submit a petition for damages by June 26, 2020. She said IPI’s response is due on July 10, and the plaintiffs’ reply is due on July 17.

 Judge Manglona scheduled a default judgment hearing for July 24, 2020.

 As for its electronically stored information data, IPI requested an order restricting access to it.

Judge Manglona asked IPI to submit a proposed order.

 IPI was cited by the court for failing to pay $29,459 in attorneys’ fees and costs that were due on June 5, 2020.

 The court also cited IPI for failing to fully comply with various discovery requirements related to such matters as producing bank records, employee separation dates, and paper discovery.

 IPI likewise failed to pay for and arrange for the transfer of electronically stored information from a vendor in Singapore to a vendor in the United States chosen by the plaintiffs.

IPI attorney Mike Dotts stated that his client will likely appeal the default judgement and file a motion for a stay.

Dotts said the failure to pay was unintentional and IPI is willing to pay but needs more time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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