Feds, tourist settle lawsuit

THE U.S. government has settled a lawsuit filed by a tourist who sued Customs and Border Protection in federal court for denying her entry to Saipan because of the suspicion that she was pregnant.

Yu Min Zhao sued the U.S. government in Oct. 2015 for false arrest and imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery. She was represented by attorney Samuel Mok.

Zhao said she was suspected of being pregnant, and was handcuffed, slammed against the wall and placed in isolation for 22 hours.

Zhao 33, a teacher by profession, said she and her husband arrived on Saipan from Beijing, China to enjoy a much-needed break, but only her husband was admitted by the CBP under the Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program.

When it was Zhao’s turn, the same CBP officer who questioned her husband, asked her how many months she was pregnant and referred her to another CBP officer for questioning and inspection.

She said the second CBP officer accused her of being several months pregnant and ordered her to open her bag for inspection.

She added that she was denied entry, handcuffed, placed in detention, and subjected to physical and verbal abuse.

In a joint stipulation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mikel Schwab and Mok asked the District Court for the NMI to dismiss Zhao’s lawsuit stating that the parties’ settlement agreement had been satisfied as of May 9, 2018.

“Each party shall bear their own costs and fees, including attorneys’ fees,” the stipulations stated. The parties also agreed that their settlement agreement will not be filed in court.

Schwab said the agreement has no effect on Zhao’s immigration status and that she was not subject to a lifetime ban from entering the United States.

In July 2016, Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona dismissed Zhao’s false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims. The remaining claim was that of assault and battery.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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