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IPI ordered to pay $94K in attorney’s fees

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DISTRICT Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has ordered Imperial Pacific International LLC to pay $93,834.25 in attorneys’ fees in the lawsuit filed by seven construction workers.

One of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, Aaron Halegua, filed the  motion for attorneys’ fees as part of the sanctions against IPI for discovery order violations.

The judge said, “IPI’s repeated failures to abide by this court’s discovery orders have resulted in this sanction.”

She noted that IPI has “changed counsel multiple times over the course of this case, considerably complicating the discovery process.”

To date, she added, the current counsel of IPI is still reconstructing discovery sought by the plaintiffs  in Sept. 2019.

Halegua and attorney Bruce Berline represent the plaintiffs: Tianming Wang, Dong Han, Yongjun Meng, Liangcai Sun, Youli Wang, Qingchun Xu, and Duxin Yan.

The plaintiffs worked for the previous IPI contractor and subcontractor,  MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co. and Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI).

The plaintiffs are alleging forced labor, negligence, and liability for employees of subcontractors.

In their first amended complaint, the plaintiffs also alleged violations of the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and the CNMI Anti-Trafficking Act, as well as claims under CNMI law for the physical injuries the plaintiffs said they suffered at the IPI construction project.

The plaintiffs are seeking $3.86 million in compensatory damages and $7.72 million in punitive damages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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