The seven construction workers from China who are suing Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI) LLC for injuries that they allegedly sustained at the casino worksite are asking the federal court to grant them over $30,000 in attorney’s fees.
Aaron Halegua, the off-island-based lawyer of the seven construction workers, asked the U.S. District Court for the NMI to award them $30,517.80 in attorneys’ fees. Halegua, who is based in New York, said in his motion that the request for attorneys’ fees is reasonable.
The request is based on Halegua’s rate of $400 per hour, co-counsel Bruce Berline’s rate, which is $300 per hour, and the $160 per hour rate for two law student interns who performed legal research and other work on the lawsuit.
Halegua billed 62.62 hours of work totaling $25,048; Berline billed 3.95 hours for a total of $1,185; and the two interns billed a total of 26.78 hours of work for a total of $4,284.80.
The plaintiffs—Tianming Wang, Dong Han, Yongjun Meng, Liangcai Sun, Youli Wang, Qingchun Xu, and Duxin Yan—have sued their former employer, Gold Mantis, a former subcontractor of casino investor Imperial Pacific International LLC, for injuries they sustained on the job.
District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona recently granted the workers’ request to order Gold Mantis to produce discovery materials in the plaintiffs’ lawsuit alleging labor and other violations. The judge directed Gold Mantis to obtain and produce financial records, tax records, and produce other documents and electronically stored information or ESI.
The judge also granted their request for attorney’ fees related to the filing of the motion against Gold Mantis.
MCC and IPI have been named co-defendants in the workers’ amended complaint, which also alleged human trafficking violations.
The plaintiffs have asked the federal court to award them $3.86 million in compensatory damages and $7.72 million in punitive damages.