Bench trial concludes in USA Fanter’s lawsuit against IPI

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THE four-day bench trial to determine whether USA Fanter Corporation Ltd. has enough evidence to attach a mechanic’s lien to the property of Imperial Pacific International LLC concluded on Monday.

According to an online legal dictionary, a mechanic’s lien is a legal claim against a property and is typically used by contractors and suppliers when they have not received payment for work done.

USA Fanter, represented by attorney Colin Thompson, has sued IPI for breach of contract in the amount of $2 million.

USA Fanter said IPI did not pay the full amount due to USA Fanter under the construction contract for labor and materials provided for the improvement of real property.

IPI has only paid USA Fanter $300,000, and still owes the plaintiff not less than $2,089,345.28, the lawsuit stated.

The bench trial started last week Tuesday with District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona presiding.

During the trial, attorney Cong Nie renewed his request to withdraw from representing IPI, which was granted by the court.

IPI vice president, Tao Xing, who was present at the trial, informed Judge Manglona that IPI had not identified a new counsel.

She said IPI  has 30 days to find new counsel, adding that in the meantime, any service that the plaintiff needs to make will be served through Tao Xing’s email.

Thompson told the court that USA Fanter will be filing a motion for summary judgment.

The judge scheduled a status conference for July 16 at 1:30 p.m. and informed Tao Xing that she might issue an order to show cause if he does not show up.

Among those who testified for the plaintiff during the trial were Fanter owner Guo Cao Qian, John Robertson, a U.S. mainland-based structural and civil engineer, and certified public accountant Antonio Muna, a general consultant.

IPI called its representative, Jing Zhou, to testify.

In April, Judge Manglona said USA Fanter had established by probable cause that IPI owed the plaintiff $2,089,000, adding that the plaintiff had also satisfied the burden of probable cause to attach a mechanic’s lien to the IPI property in Garapan.

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