AS IPI FOUND IN CONTEMPT ANEW
The Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC has been found in contempt anew of the injunction previously issued in favor of the United States Department of Labor for violating H2-B regulations under both the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, and the and the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Previously, USDOL informed the U.S. District Court for the NMI that IPI should be found in contempt anew for violating the H-2B regulations under the INA, and the FLSA for their failure to pay the promised rate and the accompanying FLSA overtime premium to those hired under the H-2B program.
“Based on these violations, defendants are again in contempt of the Court’s injunction against violations of the FLSA,” District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona stated in her order.
Because of these violations, the court has also granted the second amended consent judgment sought by USDOL in order for IPI to purge themselves from contempt.
The recently approved consent judgment mirrors the first amended consent judgment which was approved by the court back in March 2021.
The first amended consent judgment required defendant IPI to make payments for unpaid minimum wage and overtime premiums pursuant to a series of payments and comply with other court conditions.
Under the second amended consent judgment, IPI must pay a total amount $2,195,726.01, which is comprised of: $1,010,416.04 in back wages, and an additional equal amount as liquidated damages of $1,010,416.04, and an additional amount of $174,893.93 as civil monetary penalties.
According to court documents, back on April 11, 2019, USDOL, IPI, and its mother company, IPI Holdings Ltd., entered into a consent judgment related to alleged labor violations at the IPI construction site.
IPI first violated the consent judgment on Dec. 1, 2019, when it failed to pay USDOL $1,020,000.
In May 2020, USDOL discovered that IPI was not meeting its payroll obligations and was not in compliance with the judgment’s prohibition against violating the FLSA.
After unsuccessfully making every effort to secure IPI’s compliance with the judgment, on Dec. 16, 2020, USDOL filed a petition for contempt because IPI failed to meet payroll obligations, required employees to work without pay, failed to provide payments to the Secretary of Labor, and other requirements per the 2019 consent judgment.
On Jan. 21, 2021, a hearing was held on USDOL’s contempt petition and, based on the evidence presented by USDOL, the court found the defendants in contempt of court for the continuous violation of the 2019 consent judgment by failing to make the scheduled payments and by violating the FLSA.
In a follow-up hearing on Jan. 28, 2021, IPI reported that it satisfied a portion of the consent judgment, including paying $788,022.54 and any other wages due to current IPI employees and restoring employee housing to habitable conditions.
The court ordered on Jan. 28 that IPI satisfy the remaining portion of the judgment by March 1 or the court may proceed with the appointment of a receiver to immediately begin liquidating IPI’s assets to fulfill payment.