IPI reiterates opposition to entry of default judgment in lawsuit

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ATTORNEY Michael Dotts said inconsistent judgments are possible if an entry of default judgment is entered against Imperial Pacific International LLC at this point in the litigation.

Dotts is representing IPI in the lawsuit filed by seven construction workers against the casino investor and their former employers — IPI’s former contractor and subcontractor MCC and Gold Mantis.

Dotts on Friday filed in federal court a supplemental memorandum in opposition to the entry of default judgment.

He said there exists the possibility of inconsistent judgments if a default judgment is entered against IPI before the case against MCC and Gold Mantis is decided.

According to Dotts:     

1) The plaintiffs may add more plaintiffs to this action, so entry of default judgment against IPI now will foreclose relief for future  plaintiffs as to IPI’s alleged misconduct.

2) Since IPI, MCC and Gold Mantis either jointly employed the plaintiffs or were similarly situated in their employment of the plaintiffs, inconsistent judgments are possible if default judgment is entered now as to IPI.

3) Since the plaintiffs allege that IPI, MCC and Gold Mantis participated  in a forced labor scheme, inconsistent judgments are possible later if MCC and Gold Mantis successfully defend [against] the plaintiffs’ claims that they participated in a joint forced labor scheme.

4) IPI, MCC, and Gold Mantis are similarly situated because the plaintiffs argue that the defendants violated the same laws and request the same relief from IPI, MCC and Gold Mantis.

Dotts likewise cited the following factors:

  • Case law supports that no prejudice will result to the plaintiffs because the clock will rewind and additional discovery will be propounded once they amend their complaint.
  • The merits of the plaintiffs’ Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act claim and the sufficiency of their complaint in general are in question because the court seems to have drawn an unreasonable inference that because then-IPI legal counsel Charles McDonald objected to an Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspector entering the project site without a warrant that IPI had participated in a forced labor scheme with MCC and Gold Mantis.
  • The sum of $11 million at stake in this action is too large and unreasonable considering the unreasonable inference seemingly drawn by the court that IPI knew or should have known of a forced labor scheme at the project site.
  • There exists a possible dispute concerning material facts of whether IPI knew or should have known of a forced labor scheme at the project site.
  • IPI stands by its initial argument in its Rule 55(c) motion that its neglect to provide discovery was excusable.
  • The extreme remedy of default judgment is not justified in this case and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure favor a decision on the merits.

The plaintiffs worked for the former contractor and subcontractor of IPI, MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co. and Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI), and both were the original defendants in the lawsuit.

In  the seven workers’ amended complaint, IPI was named as co-defendant as the plaintiffs’ alleged forced labor, negligence, and liability for employees of subcontractors.

District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona previously 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.

She then issued a default judgement against IPI.

In a recent ruling Judge Manglona  granted the request of attorney Aaron Halegua’s motion for attorneys’ fees, and  ordered IPI to pay $93,834.25 in attorneys’ fees.

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

The plaintiffs have also asked the federal court to issue an order awarding them $3.86 million in compensatory damages and $7.72 million in punitive damages.

The court has not issued any ruling on the request for an award for damages.






November 2020 pssnewsletter

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