The U.S. District Court for the NMI has warned Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC that after multiple contempt findings against it if it continues to fail to abide by court sanctions, the court will find its executives in contempt personally.
In an order by U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona Manglona yesterday, she warned IPI that if it fails to make payments toward the sanctions imposed on it in the lawsuit filed by its former employee, Joshua Gray, by today, she will have no choice but to personally fine and impose sanctions on IPI’s executives, including jail time.
“Having found IPI in contempt again, the court warns IPI that this is the final straw. The court is utterly appalled at IPI’s flagrant disregard of the court’s orders. Despite the fee order being imposed as sanction for IPI’s failure to comply with the court’s discovery order, IPI again disregarded the court’s order by not paying that sanction. While the court recognizes that it is to impose the least possible sanction to coerce compliance, monetary sanctions against IPI are clearly ineffective as demonstrated by IPI’s failure to even pay the attorneys’ fees award,” she said.
“IPI is ordered to immediately comply with the court’s fee order by paying to plaintiff his attorneys’ fees and costs in the amount of $19,616.25 no later than [today], Oct. 14. Ray Yumul, Tao Xing, and all other IPI directors, officers, and executives are on notice that a failure to comply with the fee order will result in a finding of contempt against IPI and them personally as well, and subject them to severe sanctions, including, but not limited to, a monetary fine and/or incarceration of three days until the contempt is cured,” Manglona added.
Back on Sept. 30, the court issued an order to show cause against IPI ordering IPI to explain why the court should not find it in contempt and impose sanctions for its failure to comply with the court’s July 8, order requiring IPI to pay to plaintiff his attorney’s fees and costs in the amount of $19,616.25 no later than Aug. 9.
The fee order was issued as a sanction against IPI after being found in contempt for failing to obey the court’s previous discovery orders.
In issuing the OSC, the court ordered IPI to show cause in writing no later than Oct. 4 why the court should not enter an order finding IPI in contempt; ordering immediate compliance; imposing sanctions such as a $2,000 per day fine or monetary sanctions and/or incarceration against IPI’s directors, officers, and executives, personally, including Yumul and Xing; and ordering IPI to pay plaintiff attorneys’ fees and costs for having to pursue this OSC. However, IPI did not file any response by the Oct. 4 deadline.
At the OSC hearing on Oct. 7, IPI represented that it still had not paid any part of the $19,616.25 owed to plaintiff, even though it had a portion of that amount in possession and paid other obligations since the order was issued.
The court found IPI in contempt “for clearly and unambiguously” violating the court’s fee order.