IPI settling ex-VIP services host’s suit


Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC is settling a lawsuit filed against the company by a former VIP services host over alleged non-payment of overtime compensation, among other allegations.
IPI, through counsel Kelley M. Butcher, and plaintiff Shirline Loh, through counsel William M. Fitzgerald, filed a notice of settlement before the U.S. District Court for the NMI last Thursday.

Butcher and Fitzgerald told the court that they are settling the case and that they will soon ask it to dismiss the case as soon as the documentations are completed.

The lawyers requested that the pre-settlement telephone conference set for last Friday be continued to Jan. 17, 2020, which was the time set for the settlement conference.

District Court Magistrate Judge Heather L. Kennedy granted the request and ordered the parties to appear at the settlement conference on Jan. 17 if the case is not stipulated for dismissal.

In IPI’s answer to Loh’s amended lawsuit, Butcher said the company acted in good faith at all times and believes its actions were in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Loh, a citizen of Singapore, is suing IPI for Fair Labor Standards Act violation—unpaid minimum wage and unpaid overtime compensation, and conversion.

In her lawsuit, Loh asked the court hold IPI liable to pay her the minimum wage and overtime compensation, plus her shares of tips designated for the VIP hosts and allegedly wrongfully converted by IPI for its own use.

She also demanded payment for liquidated and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and court costs.

Loh worked for IPI from Oct. 15, 2015, until August 2016.

In IPI’s answer to the lawsuit, Butcher said Loh cannot recover against IPI to the extent that she failed to mitigate her alleged damages.

Butcher said IPI has not engaged in intentional unlawful employment practices, and that IPI therefore cannot be liable for punitive/liquidated damages.

The lawyer said Loh was compensated for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a particular workweek at a rate set forth by the overtime provisions of the FLSA.

She said Loh failed to exhaust administrative remedies before filing the lawsuit.

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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