Halegua, who is based in New York, and Saipan lawyer Bruce Berline represent seven construction workers who sued IPI and its contractor and subcontractor MCC International, LLC, and Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI) over alleged labor and other violations.
In a previous order, Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona of the District Court for the NMI cited IPI for failing to fully comply with various discovery requirements related to such matters as producing bank records, employee separation dates, and paper discovery.
On Aug. 25, 2020, Judge Manglona directed IPI to pay the plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees in the amount of $93,834.25 by Sept. 24, 2020.
On Sept. 18, 2020, IPI attorney Michael Dotts asked for an extension. Judge Manglona granted IPI a 30-day extension, adding that the full amount must be paid no later than Oct. 24. She told IPI to “make interim payments as soon as funds are available.”
But Halegua, in his notice of non-compliance by IPI, stated that the plaintiffs did not receive any payment from the Saipan casino investor. “At the time of this filing on Oct. 27, plaintiffs still have not received any payment in any amount from IPI,” he added.
Variety was unable to get a comment from IPI.
The plaintiffs are Tianming Wang, Dong Han, Yongjun Meng, Liangcai Sun, Youli Wang, Qingchun Xu, and Duxin Yan.
They have asked the federal court to issue an order awarding them $3.86 million in compensatory damages and $7.72 million in punitive damages.
The plaintiffs worked for the former contractor and subcontractor of IPI, MCC International and Gold Mantis.
IPI was named defendant in the seven workers’ amended complaint, which included human trafficking allegations.
The judge has also approved the award of attorneys’ fees related to the plaintiffs’ filing of a discovery motion against Gold Mantis.
The plaintiffs want Gold Mantis to pay $30,517.80 in attorneys’ fees.
Gold Mantis is represented by attorney Tiberius Mocanu while attorney Robert T. Torres represents MCC International.