EEOC lawsuit against IPI ‘complicated, unique’

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THE U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Imperial Pacific International LLC have asked the federal court to assign EEOC’s lawsuit against IPI to the “complex track” because it involves several complicated and unique legal issues, numerous fact witnesses, and extensive discovery.

EEOC sued IPI and its parent company IPI Holdings over allegations of sexual harassment and unfair employment practices on behalf of Shirlene Loh, a VIP hostess, and other similarly aggrieved female employees.

IPI has denied all the allegations and has asked the federal court to rule in its favor and dismiss the complaint with prejudice.

Last week, EEOC, represented by attorney Eric Yau and IPI, represented by attorney Kelley Butcher told the federal court that “the parties will likely have to engage in extensive discovery and motion practice to fully address the unique and complicated legal issues….”

Additionally, the parties stated, “Given the number of employees (both management/non-management) who potentially possess information supporting EEOC’s claims and defendants’ defenses, the plaintiff anticipates having to propound multiple sets of requests for production, interrogatories and requests for admissions exceeding the allowable 50, and to take upward of 20 depositions (including 30(b)(6) designees, alleged discriminating official, human resources personnel, management employees involved, and other co-workers who possess information pertinent to the EEOC’s claims and defendants’ defenses).”

EEOC said “discovery will be further complicated because many of the witnesses reside across different Asian countries, require the use of interpreters at depositions and translators for documentary evidence, may require visas (for both the witnesses and EEOC personnel), all of which involve significant logistical preparation typically unseen in other EEOC cases.”

EEOC said the recent Covid-19 outbreak across Asia, with the accompanying travel restrictions, will undoubtedly delay EEOC’s ability to conduct depositions and other types of discovery.

On Tuesday, District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted the parties’ request to place the case in complex track and adopted the proposed deadlines and hearings.

Judge Manglona scheduled a first settlement conference for Sept. 10, 2020 and the jury trial for Sept. 28, 2021.

A scheduling order will be issued by the court separately after March 20, 2020.

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