Court orders IPI to pay its dues in attorneys fees


Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC has been ordered to pay nearly $94,000 in attorneys fees in the lawsuit filed by seven construction workers.

District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona ordered IPI to pay $93,834.25 in attorneys’ fees for the seven defendants—Tianming Wang, Dong Han, Yongjun Meng, Liangcai Sun, Youli Wang, Qingchun Xu, and Duxin Yan.

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

Aside from Halegua, attorney Bruce Berline, Times Wang, and paralegal Jacob Kessler also represent the plaintiffs.

Manglona said IPI’s repeated failures to abide by this court’s discovery orders have resulted in the sanction.

Manglona added that IPI has changed counsel multiple times over the course of the case, considerably complicating the discovery process.

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

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

The plaintiffs allege 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.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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