The federal court directed the owners of the defunct Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino to explain why it failed to obtain a lawyer for a lawsuit filed by foreign workers over the denial of their CNMI-only Transitional Worker petitions.
U.S. District Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather Kennedy gave Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investment Ltd. and Mega Stars Overseas Limited until Feb. 8, 2018, to respond.
Kennedy issued the order Tuesday after HKE director Chun Wai Chan, who spoke via telephone at the hearing, told the court that they have not retained a lawyer for the case and do not intend to do so.
He cited the company’s financial inability to do so.
Kennedy stressed that failing to hire a lawyer in the case may result in removing HKE’s and Mega Stars’ answer to the lawsuit and entering a default judgment against them.
At the Jan. 16 hearing, attorney Daniel Guidotti withdrew as counsel for HKE and Mega Stars after both companies failed to pay his fees.
Kennedy informed HKE and Mega Stars at the time that they may only appear in court through an attorney. She also explained that failure to obtain a lawyer may result in sanctions, including default judgment.
The status conference on Tuesday was intended to determine if HKE and Mega Stars have already obtained a new lawyer.
Attorney Samuel Mok appeared with Eric F. Dona and six other co-plaintiffs. There are 15 named plaintiffs in this case.
In their lawsuit, Dona and co-plaintiffs alleged that the owners and the management of Tinian Dynasty lied to them about their immigration status, that they were authorized to work despite the denial of their CW-1 petitions.