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IPI now complying, asks court to lower sanction


Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC has asked the federal court to lower the $2,000 a day sanction it imposed on the company to just $500 a day until the company finishes its production of documents in connection with a lawsuit filed by seven former workers.

In its motion for relief, IPI, through general counsel Michael W. Dotts, said that IPI is nearing completion with the submission of all documents being asked of it and it has produced materials from 53 boxes and ACONEX data. What is left, Dotts said, is perhaps the most difficult and this is the production of electronically stored information. The lawyer said IPI has found a California-based vendor that it is comfortable working with and can perform the work at a lower cost than the Singapore-based vendor IPI had previously hired.

“Once the ESI discovery is done, IPI will move for a complete lifting of the sanctions,” the lawyer said.

In April, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona found IPI in civil contempt for violating two court orders regarding the production of “discovery materials” and imposed a monetary sanction of $2,000 a day until IPI comes into compliance. Last May, Manglona ordered IPI to pay the daily sanction to the court from May 17 until such a time that it files certification of full compliance that the sanctions order is satisfied.

Since then, Dotts said, IPI has come into compliance with producing responsive materials from the 53 boxes, which included a total of 12,283 pages of documentation. Dotts said IPI came into compliance with regard to tendering the paper discovery on July 13, 2020.

As IPI is still working on producing ESI, Dotts said it is not asking for a total end to the sanction, but just a reduction to $500 per day.

The plaintiffs, who are now back in China, are suing IPI and its two former contractors for allegedly forcing them to work long hours for below minimum wage under extremely dangerous conditions at the casino worksite, among other allegations.

In its response, IPI said any wage claims by the plaintiffs are barred because they voluntarily illegally entered the CNMI to work.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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