Michael W. Dotts, who is the former lawyer of Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC, informed the U.S District Court that he might need to file a lawsuit against his former client for its failure to pay him for his legal services.
According to Dotts, IPI has yet to pay for him his fees, which have now gone up to a total of $140,000.
Dotts told U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona Manglona that he does not believe IPI will pay him and believes he needs to file a lawsuit.
“I do not believe IPI is going to pay. I believe I now need to file suit and join IPI’s other creditors. With each missed payment, [I] contacted IPI management and advised that if the payments went unpaid, [I] would suspend work and move to withdraw as counsel,” he said.
Dotts said on July 10, he even advised Ray Yumul, IPI chief executive officer, that if IPI did not make a substantial payment toward what is owed, he would move to withdraw as counsel in all remaining matters where he is representing IPI.
Yumul indicated that he was looking for substitute counsel for IPI but to date, a substitute counsel has yet to be found.
Meanwhile, Manglona granted Dotts’ request to withdraw from representing IPI in the complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Labor.
“Dotts has fulfilled his obligation under this court’s local rules and has provided the proper notice to IPI. The court also finds that granting the motion would not prejudice other parties, cause harm to the administration of justice, delay resolution of the case, or prejudice other litigants,” she said.
Manglona said IPI is no longer required to submit weekly reports to the court, but instead, must submit them directly to the USDOL secretary.
“IPI has been remitting payment to the U.S. Department of Labor and working directly with the department to ensure IPI complies with the terms set out in this case. As there are no significant pending matters before the court in this case, good cause has been established,” Manglona said.
Back in in 2019, IPI agreed to a consent judgment with the USDOL to resolve the labor violations of IPI’s contractors.
On March 23, 2021, IPI and the USDOL requested the federal court to modify the 2019 consent judgment.
According to the agreement between the parties, IPI had paid a total of $1,929,425.28 toward the previous consent judgment from March 2019 to March 2021. The remaining balance from the previous consent judgment was $1,430,574.72 plus $47,856 wages owed to IPI’s former employees for a total of $1,478,430.72 due in the modified consent judgment.
IPI was ordered to make monthly payments of $164,270.08 from April 1, 2021, to Dec. 1, 2021, to satisfy the modified consent judgement. To date IPI has made payments totaling $821,350.60, from January to August 2021.