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18 Apr 2022

Bryan Manabat, Marianas Variety

USA: Court grants $687K attorneys’ fees to Chinese construction workers who sued casino developer IPI

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"Court awards $687K in attorneys’ fees to 7 workers who sued IPI"

THE seven workers who sued Imperial Pacific International LLC for alleged labor violations and human trafficking have been awarded $687,793.70 in attorneys’ fees by the District Court for the NMI.

Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona, in a 34-page decision and order, granted the plaintiffs’ fourth motion for attorneys’ fees for prevailing under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.


The seven plaintiffs were previously employed as construction workers by IPI’s former contractor and subcontractor, MCC International and Gold Mantis.


Their original complaint was filed against Gold Mantis Construction Decoration (CNMI) in December 2018. An amended complaint was filed in March 2019 to include MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co. and IPI as defendants while adding an allegation of forced labor under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.

The plaintiffs had asked the federal court to award them $3.86 million in compensatory damages and $7.72 million in punitive damages.

The plaintiffs have since settled with MCC International and Gold Mantis.

In a previous order, the federal court entered a default judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, [...], against IPI in the total amount of 5,915,595.98. IPI filed a motion for reconsideration but this was denied by the federal court. IPI then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Recently, the plaintiffs moved to delay the enforcement of the default judgment against IPI after the casino developer agreed to secure a $6 million supersedes or appeal bond.