Cui’s attempts to place all blame on lawyer ‘falls flat’

Posted on Jun 04 2021

The New-York-based lawyer for seven former construction workers who were awarded a default judgment in their case against Imperial Pacific International Holdings, Ltd. and its subcontractors told the court that IPI board chair Cui Li Jie’s attempts to place all blame for her noncompliance on her lawyer, Juan T. Lizama, “falls flat” due to Cui’s and her translator’s own “pattern of obstructionist and disobedient behavior.”

This argument is contained in the second status report that lawyer Aaron Halegua submitted yesterday to the U.S. District Court, where he outlined Cui’s failure to obey the court’s preservation order for the NMI.

Cui has been at the center of legal complications in the past for being unable to preserve and surrender her cell phone to the court.

In response to Cui’s June 1 request for time to find “a responsible and competent” lawyer, Halegua reminded Cui and the court that Lizama was an attorney that she voluntarily chose to represent her, and said that Cui will have a full opportunity to explain how Lizama is mostly to blame whenever her and Chi submit their opposition to the court preservation order. Halegua, however, says that such arguments rarely prevail.

Further, Halegua took issue with the portion of Cui’s request where she asked the court to understand her situation, as she does not speak English or “know the American legal system well.” Halegua states that the court has taken great care to properly explain the legal proceedings to Cui through her chosen translator, Howyo Chi, and says that “the plain reality is that Ms. Cui has obstructed plaintiffs from obtaining discovery at every turn.”

In the June 2 status report, Halegua provided five past incidents where Cui has been uncooperative with the court that do not have any connection to Lizama. According to Halegua, Cui in the past has:

Evaded service of and failed to respond to a subpoena, and “when she did appear provided evasive and untruthful testimony.”

Allegedly deleted WeChat data from her phone with help of associates in reaction to Halegua’s March 4 request for her to preserve her phone data.

Had translator Chi file a declaration that Cui’s phone data had been preserved and copied, despite Cui’s WeChat data returning a report of “analysis is empty” and the copying process only taking four minutes.

Remained in possession of her cell phone and claimed to have lost the SIM card she has been using since arriving in Saipan, and
Continued to use her cell phone even after the court issued a preservation order for her cell phone on March 31.

“This pattern of noncompliance cannot all fall solely on the shoulders of Mr. Lizama,” said Halegua, who is the lawyer for the plaintiffs in the case Tianming Wang, et. al vs. Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI) LLC, et. al.

Joshua Santos | Reporter
Joshua Santos is a Mount Carmel School AlumKnight and University of Florida Gator Grad with a passion for writing. He is one of Saipan Tribune’s newest reporters. Josh enjoys golf, chess, and playing video games with friends in his spare time. Reach out to him @rarebasedjosh on all socials.
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