CNMI Court orders payment of legal fees for 7 workers who sued IPI

Seven construction workers accused IPI of labour abuse and human trafficking.
Seven construction workers accused IPI of labour abuse and human trafficking.

Seven workers who had sued Imperial Pacific International for alleged labour rights violations and human trafficking have been awarded $687,794 in legal fees.

Northern Mariana Islands.- Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has awarded $687,793.70 in legal fees to seven workers who were employed by former IPI contractors and subcontractors, MCC International and Gold Mantis. The workers filed a lawsuit against the companies in December 2018.

In March 2019, amendment proceedings were filed against MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co. and IPI as defendants also added a forced labour charge under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.

In a previous order, the federal court entered a default judgment in favour of the plaintiffs for $5,430,595.58, plus post-judgment interest and attorney fees of $5,915,595.98. IPI submitted an application for review, which was dismissed by the Federal Court and subsequently appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Manglona stated: “The default judgment entered against IPI on May 26, 2021 shall be amended to reflect the amount of $5,430,595.58, plus $687,793.70 in attorneys’ fees, plus post-judgment interest at the applicable federal rate on May 26, 2021.”

Former IPI chairwoman to pay $42,200 in court-imposed sanctions

Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has confirmed that former IPI chairwoman Cui Li Jie must pay court fines totaling $42,200. According to Cui, the fees owned total $36,200 but the court’s calculations come out at $42,200.

The courts have repeatedly found that Cui Li Jie violated court orders regarding electronically stored information or ESI. Cui is a witness in the lawsuit brought against IPI and its former contractors and subcontractors MCC International and Gold Mantis Construction Decoration by seven construction workers. 

Last December, Manglona had ordered Cui Li Jie to pay a daily sanction of US$200 per day for failing to comply with the court order to hand over electronic data. The daily fine was later increased to $1,000

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