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Russian ‘tourist’ wants federal court to intervene in his labor complaint

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DENIS Uvarov, a Russian Federation citizen, has asked the federal court to intervene in a labor complaint he filed, but was dismissed by the CNMI Department of Labor.

In his lawsuit, Uvarov named Gani Osman, operator and owner of Saipan Security Services, as defendant.

Uvarov did not state the nature of his lawsuit, which he filed on Thursday, but he attached a copy of the final CNMI DOL decision dated Sept. 17, 2020 regarding his complaint against Osman for unpaid wages totaling 166 hours from Oct. 9, 2018 to Oct. 28, 2018.

CNMI DOL dismissed his appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

In its prior dismissal order dated Sept. 3, 2020, CNMI DOL noted that Uvarov is neither a U.S. citizen, a  CNMI permanent resident, a foreign national worker nor a worker possessing some other non-immigrant status.

Uvarov came to the CNMI as a tourist, the department stated, adding that its enforcement compliance section recommended that his labor complaint be dismissed.

In his labor complaint Uvarov was previously represented by attorney Pamela Blackburn. But CNMI DOL noted that Blackburn filed an untimely notice of withdrawal of counsel five minutes prior to the commencement of the hearing.

Uvarov said he is seeking compensation for unpaid wages and liquidated damages equal to the amount of unpaid wages.

Uvarov appealed the Sept. 3 CNMI DOL decision, saying there was a lack of due process because he was not given a chance to look for another attorney or an interpreter.

But CNMI Labor Secretary Vicky I. Benavente affirmed the dismissal of Uvarov’s claims in a final agency decision.

She said claims for tourists are pursued in the Superior Court.

Moreover, she said, Uvarov was provided due process. “Appellant through his attorney was served with adequate notice of hearing. There is no showing that a request for an interpreter was denied.”

Benavente also noted that “appellant mistakes a lack of due process with his counsel’s mishandling of the case.”

Uvarov previously sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for personal injury, demanding $80,000 in damages.

In that complaint, he said he came to the CNMI on Nov. 29, 2017 and applied for political asylum at the local ICE office.

But Uvarov said he no longer wants to pursue his asylum application.

However, he said ICE confiscated his passport on June 7, 2018, and “never did any effort in good faith [to] organize asylum interview.”

“When I needed to go home,” he added, “ICE was not able to return my passport.”

Uvarov accused ICE of “violating the international 1967 protocol on refugee rights.”

He said this has caused him mental harm, depression, and deprivation.

He is asking the federal court to order ICE to return his passport, and to award him $80,000 in compensation for his “suffering and for punitive damages.”

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