IPI says it needs time to pay sanctions

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IMPERIAL Pacific International, LLC is willing to pay all outstanding sanctions, but needs time to pay, according to the declaration of its lawyer Michael Dotts in the lawsuit of seven construction workers who have alleged labor and other violations.

They are seeking a total of $11.58 million in damages against IPI.

IPI is asking District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona to set aside her ruling against the casino investor.

On June 12, 2020, the judge entered a default judgment against IPI for its “repeated failures to comply with discovery orders.”

In its motion to set aside entry of default, IPI stated that it has reviewed page by page and tendered over 10,000 documents to correct the events that led to the default a month ago.

Dotts said IPI has reviewed and produced thousands of bank statements and records.

“IPI has also identified and began working with a new vendor to assist with the Electronically Stored Information discovery, and is in the process of putting in place a system that will allow for the production of ESI based on the agreed-to search terms of the parties,” he added.

In his declaration, Dotts said, “No ESI has been tendered to plaintiffs yet and I recognize the key to coming into compliance is tendering discovery.”

However, he added, IPI has found a solution to the problem it has with Litigation Edge and is making progress toward being able to tender ESI.

Dotts noted that the Commonwealth Casino Commission has jurisdiction over IPI with regard to the enforcement of its casino license.

CCC has become concerned that IPI is not making payroll,  Dotts said. He provided the court a copy of an order from CCC requiring IPI to build up a payroll reserve.

“Should IPI not comply with it, CCC has the authority to penalize IPI or suspend or even revoke the casino license,” Dotts said.

In addition, IPI has entered into a consent judgment with the U.S. secretary of Labor.  Under the consent judgment, it is critical for IPI to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act, Dotts said.

“Part of compliance is timely paying payroll. IPI has been struggling to pay payroll. Should IPI not comply with the consent judgment the sanctions could be severe. If IPI is not able to pay payroll it would have to shut down,” he added.

Dotts reiterated that IPI is willing to pay all outstanding sanctions, but needs time to pay.

“I am also advised that IPI’s parent company has successfully raised funds and that it is only a matter of time before IPI has the ability to come current on all sanctions. I have not been told how much time,” Dotts said.

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.

They are former workers of IPI  contractor and subcontractor MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co. and Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI).

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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