October 2022 - In yet another recent victory for Imperial Pacific International (IPI), a federal judge granted its bid to throw out, for a second time, a suit brought by Turkish workers of the hotel-casino.

Earlier this year, three former Turkish workers of IPI filed a class-action suit against the company, alleging that it engaged in a “pattern-and-practice” of national origin discrimination against its Turkish workers by paying them less than IPI’s Taiwanese and Italian workers. Following oral argument by Amina Hassan in May 2022, Northern Mariana Islands Judge Ramona Manglona granted IPI’s motion to dismiss the original complaint, holding that the plaintiffs failed to allege “particularized facts” showing that the Turkish workers performed the same type of work as the Taiwanese and Italian workers.
In August, the plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint, adding anecdotal allegations from ten Turkish workers that they had personally observed the higher paychecks of Taiwanese and Italian workers engaged in the “same work” as the Turkish workers. IPI again moved to dismiss, arguing that the amended complaint provided the Court no facts regarding the jobs, qualifications and performance levels of the Taiwanese and Italian workers in question.
On Oct. 14, following another oral argument by Hassan, Judge Manglona issued a written opinion, granting the casino’s second motion to dismiss the proposed class action. Judge Manglona agreed with the company that “the first amended complaint [did] not contain sufficient facts to plausibly allege that the Italian and Taiwanese are appropriate comparators” of the Turkish workers. She explained that the plaintiffs identified their alleged comparators with the broad term of “workers,” without specifying whether they were comparing the paychecks of electricians with electricians and plumbers with plumbers. Citing the Ninth Circuit’s liberal policy towards amendments, Judge Manglona granted the plaintiffs another chance to amend their pleading, noting she might not be as generous next time.
“Judge Manglona properly held that, even at the initial pleading stage, plaintiffs must allege particularized facts to support their claim,” Hassan, Dan Weiner and Eleanor Erney said in a joint statement to Law360on Oct. 14, “and that their failure to do so will result in dismissal of their action.”
Hassan and Weiner lead the HHR team representing Imperial Pacific, with assistance from Erney.