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

 Cui Li Jie had requested the court reduce the sanctions.
Cui Li Jie had requested the court reduce the sanctions.

Cui Li Jie is a witness in the case of seven construction workers who accuse IPI of labour abuse and human trafficking.

Northern Mariana Islands.- 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. The plaintiffs allege labour rights violations and human trafficking.

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 fine for contempt of court would apply from December 23 until Cui complied. 

The daily fine was later increased to $1,000. Cui and the plaintiffs then reached an agreement through attorneys Aaron Halegua and Bruce Berline to proceed with the evidentiary hearings scheduled for January 27, 2022 to February 8, 2022. As part of the deal, Cui agreed to continue to accrue $1,000 in fines per day,

On February 3, 2022, the judge partially granted the plaintiffs’ request to extend the time allowed for Berline to return to Saipan. The court then postponed the hearing to February 18, 2022, and later to March 8, 2022 due to scheduling issues and unforeseen circumstances.

Daily sanctions were suspended from February 8 until the new evidentiary hearing date. Evidence hearings then began on March 8.

Judge Manglona said: “Given that Cui presented sufficient evidence demonstrating that she purged her contempt, the court will not impose sanctions during the period she was presenting evidence to prove that she purged her contempt.”

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