A former construction contractor for Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC filed yesterday a motion for entry of default against IPI for allegedly failing to answer its defamation lawsuit.
U.S.A. Fanter Corp. Ltd., through counsel Samuel I. Mok, asked the U.S. District Court for the NMI to grant its motion for entry of default, asserting that IPI has failed to plead or defend the lawsuit within 21 days of being served the summons and complaint.
Mok said the lawsuit was filed in court last Feb. 24 and that IPI was personally served through its registered agent with the summons and complaint last March 11.
“To date, IPI has not answered or otherwise appeared in this case and continues to be in default,” said the lawyer in his declaration in support of U.S.A. Fanter’s motion for entry of default.
The plaintiff is suing IPI for issuing statements published in two newspapers that allegedly contained libelous statements. U.S.A. Fanter asked the court to hold IPI liable to pay unspecified damages. U.S.A. Fanter also asked the court to require IPI to make a public retraction of the false and defamatory statements at issue.
Mok said IPI transmitted its libelous statements to Saipan Tribune and Marianas Variety on Dec. 19, 2019 and Dec. 20, 2019, respectively.
Mok said IPI stated that U.S.A. Fanter purportedly lied about the actual construction work performed, issued false reports, forged project quantity numbers, forged a payment, fabricated units of material used, fabricated prices and double-billed for work performed.
Mok said IPI’s statements were false and defamatory and that U.S.A. Fanter’s business reputation was adversely affected as a result.
U.S.A. Fanter has filed a separate lawsuit in federal court against IPI for allegedly refusing to pay $2.08 million for construction work related to the VIP wing and exterior work of IPI’s hotel-casino being constructed in Garapan.
U.S.A. Fanter also asked the court to attach a mechanic’s lien to IPI’s interests in the real property on the project. A mechanic’s lien refers to a security interest in the title to property for the benefit of those who have supplied labor or materials that improve the property.
Last Monday, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona ordered that for the lien amount of $2.89 million U.S.A. Fanter shall have a mechanic’s lien to attach upon the improvements of IPI’s hotel-casino complex in Garapan.
Manglona ordered that U.S.A. Fanter shall also have a mechanic’s lien to attach upon the real property interest of IPI in Garapan in a lot containing an area of 1.567 hectares.
The fee simple owner of the lot is the Commonwealth Investment Company LLC. IPI has a lease on that piece of land.