Labor claims v poker owners, principals dismissed


The federal court dismissed Monday the claims of four cashiers against two poker operators and their two principals for allegedly not paying them the minimum wage and overtime pay.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona issued the dismissal after the parties came to a settlement.

All claims against Zeng’s American Corp. and Dongfang Trading Corp. were dismissed with prejudice. Zeng’s American Corp. owns Happy Poker, while Dongfang Trading Corp. owns Happy Poker II.

This means the cashiers—Katrina Del Gallego Demapan, Ma. Gina Tiozon, Mary Jane G. Muhi, and Emelinda E. Sanchez—can no longer refile their claims against the two corporations.

Manglona dismissed without prejudice the cashiers’ claims against individual defendants Jin Dong Zeng and Xiu Fang Huang.

Zeng is the principal of Zeng American Corp., while Huang is the principal of Dongfang Trading Corp.

Dismissal without prejudice means the cashiers may refile their claims in the future against the two.

Mark B. Hanson is counsel for the four cashiers. Cong Nie is counsel for Zeng’s American Corp. and Zeng. Robert T. Torres is the lawyer for Dongfang Trading Corp. and Huang.

Manglona approved the settlement agreement last March 22. That agreement requires Zeng American Corp. and Dongfang Trading Corp. and their principals to pay $200,000 to settle the lawsuit.

Demapan, Tiozon, Muhi, and Sanchez first filed the lawsuit in April 2018 against just Zeng’s American Corp. and Zeng for alleged violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

At that time, Demapan, Tiozon, and Sanchez were employed by the corporations. Tiozon is no longer an employee.

In November 2018, the plaintiffs added two more defendants—Dong Fang Trading Corp. and Huang.

The parties then reached a settlement.

Under the settlement deal, the parties agreed for the poker operators to provide an initial payment of $50,000 to the plaintiffs and 24-month installment plan for the balance of the $200,000.

Individual defendants Zeng and Huang have provided security to the settlement in the form of two mortgages on their leasehold and sub-leasehold interests in property on Saipan.

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
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