AMERICAN Sinopan LLC has asked the federal court to dismiss the lawsuit of an engineering firm, Henry K. Pangelinan & Associates, which is alleging breach of contract.

American Sinopan, through attorney Jordan Sundell, seeks an order from the District Court for the NMI dismissing the complaint.

HKPA, through attorney Colin Thompson, sued American Sinopan, whose sole member was Imperial Pacific Real Estate & Hotel Management Company, for breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, negligent misrepresentation, and quantum meruit.

According to an online legal dictionary, quantum meruit is Latin for “as much as he has deserved,” and is “an equitable remedy that provides restitution for unjust enrichment.”

HKPA is demanding a jury trial and is seeking equitable relief, compensatory and punitive damages, attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, taxable court costs, and pre-judgement and post-judgement interest.

But according to Sundell, the lawsuit should be dismissed "because HKPA did not attach the relevant contract or incorporate the relevant provisions by reference. And, second, because the complaint did not present specific facts (as opposed to conclusory statements) showing that HKPA complied with the contracts and was thus entitled to payment."

The third cause of action, Sundell said, should be dismissed because the complaint did not adequately allege that HKPA acted reasonably in relying on American Sinopan’s alleged promises.

Finally, the lawyer added, the fourth cause of action should be dismissed because quantum meruit is not an available remedy if, as the complaint alleges here, an enforceable contract exists.

According to the lawsuit, on Dec. 21, 2017, American Sinopan entered into a contract with HKPA to provide civil engineering, design, drawings and related permitting services for a project known as the Saipan Garden Resort Development in Tanapag.

The complaint stated that on June 6, 2018, American Sinopan entered into another contract with HKPA to provide design and construction services for the Saipan Garden Resort and Heaven II Development project in Savanna.

American Sinopan received the original or duplicates of invoices for the services provided by HKPA for services performed pursuant to the contracts, the complaint stated.

The prices charged by HKPA pursuant to the contracts were the fair and reasonable market prices that prevailed at the time of the transactions, it said.

Moreover, the prices charged by HKPA pursuant to the contracts were the prices American Sinopan agreed to pay, the complaint added.

According to Thompson, American Sinopan received and accepted the services provided by HKPA and neither rejected nor revoked its acceptance thereof.

“During the relevant time periods, HKPA provided services to American Sinopan pursuant to the contracts, but American Sinopan has not paid HKPA for its work,” Thompson said.

Pan Guohan and Ken Lin, general manager and architect for American Sinopan, made repeated promises, statements, and guarantees to HKPA that it would receive full payment for its work, Thompson added.

Nonetheless, Thompson said, American Sinopan failed and refused to pay HKPA for the services and work pursuant to the contracts; and the amount owed to HKPA is $421,800 plus interest.


Bryan Manabat studied criminal justice at Northern Marianas College. He covers the community, tourism, business, police and court beats.

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