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Judge denies motion to dismiss lawsuit against Imperial Pacific

SUPERIOR Court Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo has denied Imperial Pacific International’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit of Tim Goodwin, sole proprietor and broker of Pacific Rim International.

Goodwin filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Imperial Pacific International, executive director Lingli Cai, and three other IPI company subsidiaries: Imperial Pacific Properties LLC, Ever Harvest Ventures (CNMI) Ltd., and Harvest Ventures Properties LLC for not paying a $100,000 broker’s fee.

Goodwin, through attorney William M. Fitzgerald, demanded a jury trial and alleged three causes of action: fraud, breach of contract, and breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing.

Goodwin is seeking damages according to proof resulting from the fraudulent conduct of the defendants, to be proven at trial; damages for breach of contract, to be proven at trial; damages for breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing; and punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial for the intentional and fraudulent conduct of the defendants.

The defendants, through attorney David Banes, have asked the court to dismiss all claims in the lawsuit except for the breach-of-contract claim against Ever Harvest.

Banes said the lawsuit failed to state a fraud claim and that the plaintiff failed to plead a valid basis for punitive damages.

Banes said the plaintiff likewise failed to plead alter-ego theory against Cai, IPI, IPP and HVP. Also to the extent the breach-of-contract claim is asserted against Cai based on her signing the agreement on behalf of Ever Harvest — that claim should be dismissed said Banes.

But the judge said the plaintiff has met its general pleading requirements in addition to the heightened pleading standard for fraud.

Having found that Goodwin has sufficiently pled the fraud claim, the court also finds a valid basis for punitive damages.

Judge Govendo said the plaintiff sufficiently alleges the alter-ego theory and breach of contract.

In addition, the lawsuit has sufficiently pled allegations for a breach-of-duty-of-good-faith and fair-dealing claim, and that this claim can be brought separately and independently of the breach-of-contract claim, the judge said.

According to the complaint, Pacific Rim was retained in 2014 by David W. Dougherty to find a buyer for his property in Garapan.

In 2014, representatives of IPI contacted Goodwin to have Pacific Rim assist in securing property to support hotel and casino projects.

Goodwin told Dougherty on Nov. 8, 2014 that he had located a buyer who wanted to buy the property for $1.3 million. The agreement required the seller to pay a broker’s fee of $100,000 to be paid by the seller to Pacific Rim, resulting in a net to Dougherty of $1.2 million.

Dougherty agreed to the sale, but requested that the $100,000 fee due to Pacific Rim be paid by the buyer.

The lawsuit states that Cai or her nominee, as the buyer, agreed to the terms of the agreement.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/101926-judge-denies-motion-to-dismiss-lawsuit-against-imperial-pacific

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