IPI officials threatened with jail time if…

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The U.S. District Court for the NMI has warned Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC and its executive officials that if they continue to defy court sanctions and continue their habit of noncompliance, its officials, specifically IPI directors, executives, and officers, will be jailed for three days.

Following a show-cause hearing for a previous motion filed by Bruce Berline, the lawyer of a former IPI employee, Joshua Gray, who filed a discrimination suit against IPI, Chief Judge Ramona Manglona entered findings of contempt again against IPI for failure to pay the sanctions ordered in favor of Gray, and for failure to comply with discovery orders.

Manglona ordered IPI to pay in full the $19,616.25 ordered by the court in a previous sanction no later than Oct. 14. If IPI fails to comply with this order, its officials, including, but not limited to, chief executive officer Ray Yumul and vice president for public affairs Tao Xing face possible jail time.

“Deadline for defendant IPI to pay plaintiff in full is next week Thursday, Oct. 14, by 8am. Court gave notice to IPI and its officers that they will be held responsible and subject them to further sanctions, and failure to purge contempt will result in a three-day jail sentence,” Manglona stated.

The court further ordered IPI to attend next week’s receivership hearing where the court is set to appoint a receiver.

Last month, Berline filed a motion requesting the court to issue an order to show cause against IPI for violating the court’s order. Berline stated in his motion that over the span of more than one year, IPI has disobeyed multiple discovery orders resulting in the court finding IPI in contempt twice.

“IPI’s refusal to comply with its discovery obligations as well as the court’s orders has resulted in extreme prejudice to the plaintiff including serious, inexcusable delay, lost evidence and the ever-increasing lost opportunity to ever collect on a judgment,” Berline said.

“Despite that obvious notice to IPI of its delinquency, IPI still has not paid plaintiff the $19,616.25 ordered by this court. IPI has not made even a partial payment to plaintiff or contacted plaintiff’s attorneys to discuss its delinquent payment,” Berline added.

The lawyer said that, because of IPI’s failure to obey orders without justification or explanation, he was forced to ask the court on behalf of his client to issue an order to show cause why an order should not be entered that holds IPI in contempt for failing to comply with court orders.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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