February 17, 2023 - Hughes Hubbard attorneys notched yet another victory for client Imperial Pacific International (IPI), when the U.S. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands ruled in February it was granting IPI's mid-trial motion and dismissing breach of contract and unjust enrichment claims brought against IPI by an engineering firm.

Plaintiff Sardini Group, a New York corporation, had asserted claims totaling $2 million against IPI, alleging that it was never paid for structural engineering services it performed during construction of IPI's hotel-casino complex on the island of Saipan.

After four days of trial in August 2022, the District Court suspended the trial and ordered Sardini to produce several categories of documents which, IPI argued, trial testimony revealed to exist and which Sardini had not produced in discovery. The court subsequently granted IPI's motion to compel, after Sardini made a less-than-fulsome production. Although Sardini made several supplemental productions over the next several months, in January 2023, IPI moved the court to dismiss Sardini's claims as a sanction for its failure to fully comply with the court's discovery orders.
On Feb. 7, Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona ruled in open court that she was granting IPI's motion and imposing the “severe sanction" of dismissal. In issuing her decision from the bench, Judge Manglona read in several places from IPI's brief, adopting the argument that Sardini was at fault for its failures to preserve and produce documents, that IPI was prejudiced by these discovery failings, and that this prejudice could not be cured through lesser sanctions.
Laura Perkins and Sam Salyer conducted the trial for IPI, with Kevin Abikoff, Jiaxing Hao, Tiauna Mathieu, David Tannenbaum and Kaitlin Unkle also assisting on this matter.