Default judgment vs Tinian Dynasty owner approved

The federal court has granted a default judgment on the two claims of 15 former foreign workers of the defunct Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino against its owner, Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investment Ltd.

At a hearing last Thursday afternoon, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted the former Tinian Dynasty workers’ motion for default judgment for their claims of fraudulent concealment and wrongful termination.

Manglona ordered Samuel Mok, the lawyer of the 15 plaintiffs, to submit revised amounts that they are asking as payment.

Mok was given until today, Tuesday, to submit a proposed order. She said she will be the one to plug in the numbers.

The plaintiffs have asked the court to hold HKE and Tinian Dynasty’s management, Mega Stars Overseas Limited, liable to pay them $4.2 million in damages.

According to the minutes of last week’s hearing, Mok informed the court that the de-fault judgment was for HKE only. He also updated the court on the status of Mega Stars.

At the hearing, Mok appeared with two interpreters. Thirteen plaintiffs were pre-sent in court while two others appeared by telephone from Japan.

Manglona stated she was inclined to grant the default judgment motion as to the claims of fraudulent concealment and wrongful termination.

Mok then argued in support of his clients’ constructive fraud claim. Manglona, how-ever, rejected the lawyer’s reading of the statute.

Mok then argued in support of the claims of fraudulent concealment and wrongful termination.

After hearing Mok’s arguments, Manglona granted the two claims.

As to the damages, Mok called to the stand all 15 plaintiffs to testify.

After listening to the testimonies, Manglona said she is not inclined to award damag-es for mental anguish.

Mok argued in support of the claim for mental anguish. Manglona denied the re-quest.

Mok argued that HKE’s decision not to retain a lawyer to represent them in this case makes a decision on the merits impossible.

The lawyer said the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 55 explicitly authorizes a court to strike the answer of a corporate defendant and enter default and default judg-ment if the corporation fails to appear with a lawyer.

The plaintiffs sued HKE and Mega Stars for allegedly lying to them that they were legally authorized to work despite the denial of their CW-1 petitions.

The plaintiffs sued HKE and Mega Stars for fraudulent concealment, constructive fraud, and for negligent misrepresentation and wrongful termination against public policy against HKE.

Mok said majority of the 15 plaintiffs have lived in the CNMI for many years and have children who are U.S. citizens.

Mok said HKE and Mega Stars deliberately and/or negligently withheld information related to the status of their CW-1 petitions in order to keep them from transferring to other employers.

In February 2018, Chun Wai Chan, a corporate representative of both HKE and Mega Stars, informed the court that Tinian Dynasty’s operation stopped in August 2015, and when the hotel operation halted in March 2016, it was no longer generating any in-come.

Chan also informed the court that they could not afford to pay a private counsel in this case.

Tinian Mayor Edwin Aldan recently disclosed that the management of Tinian Dynas-ty is still looking at an opportunity to re-open either as a hotel or just the casino.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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