Federal court dismisses Russian tourist’s request to intervene in labor complaint

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DISTRICT Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has dismissed the complaint of Denis Uvarov for lack of jurisdiction.

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

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

But Judge Manglona stated that Uvarov’s complaint failed to establish that the amount in controversy met the required threshold.

“Plaintiff’s complaint directs the court to look at its attachments in establishing  the amount in controversy, but aside from a few words of English, plaintiff’s explanation in its attachments are in Russian,” the judge said.

Unfortunately, she added, “the court cannot read Russian — neither is it required to do so — and generally requires that filings at the minimum include an English translation.”

The judge said even if the court considers the exhibits attached to Uvarov’s complaint regarding nonpayment of wages, the amount in dispute does not appear anywhere near the threshold amount of over $75,000 required for jurisdiction.

Judge Manglona also denied Uvarov’s application to proceed without paying court fees.

“If plaintiff wishes to file his amended complaint to establish that the amount in controversy is met, he must do so in English,” the judge added.

Failure to file an amended complaint within 14 days will result in the closure of this case, the judge said.

In his complaint, Uvarov attached a final CNMI DOL decision dated Sept. 17, 2020 regarding his complaint against Gani Osman, for unpaid wages totaling 166 hours from Oct. 9, 2018 to Oct. 28, 2018.

According to CNMI DOL, Uvarov, is not a U.S. citizen, a CNMI permanent resident, a foreign national worker or a worker possessing some other non-immigrant status.

Uvarov came to the CNMI as a tourist, the department stated, adding that claims for tourists are pursued in the Superior Court.

He previously sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for personal injury.

In that complaint, which remains pending, Uvarov 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 [made] any effort in good faith [to] organize [an] asylum interview.”

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

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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