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Marisco joins BoH seeking injunctive relief against ASG

fili@samoanews.com

Marisco Limited has joined Bank of Hawai’i’s motion filed last week with the federal court in Honolulu for injunctive relief, which seeks among other things, to prevent the American Samoa Government and its attorneys from seeking claims against the more than $800,000 that the bank was ordered to deposit with the federal court registry by Oct. 22.

On Tuesday this week, BoH attorney Robert Marks filed a notice with the federal court that the interpleader funds in the amount of $824,017.15 were deposited Oct. 22 with the court registry.

The money is to pay the court judgement in the Marisco case against ASG for ASG's failure to pay outstanding invoices of services and purchases the government made with the Honolulu-based shipyard.

Yesterday Marisco filed a motion, joining BoH’s injunctive relief, which requests the federal court issue an order restraining or enjoining ASG and its attorneys from continuing its forum-shopped litigation before the High Court, which is set to be heard on Oct 31.

ASG motioned to enforce the local court’s order for BoH to return the more than $824,000 that the bank froze in the ASG account.

BoH said the High Court has already ordered the bank to put the interpleader funds back into ASG’s account. It also says that federal court order should restrain ASG and its attorneys from continuing to litigate in the High Court the disposition of the interpleader funds.

In its motion yesterday, Marisco said ASG arguments concerning the application of American Samoa law and jurisdiction over ASG funds allegedly domiciled in American Samoa have been argued before the federal court and have been appealed by ASG to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

It says that ASG has attempted to make its record before the federal court with arguments citing the law of American Samoa that: [t]he government and any other public bodies or agencies shall not be garnishedwithout the prior approval of the governor”.

Additionally, “The legislature itself has prohibited attachment of ASG property...”

ASG also raised subject matter jurisdiction arguments alleging that the federal court has no jurisdiction over bank accounts allegedly domiciled in American Samoa, said Marisco.

However, the federal court rejected the ASG argument that American Samoan law applied to funds retained by BoH and noted that the inapplicability of the “separate entity rule”.

In conclusion, Marisco “submits that the [federal] court considered and rejected the application of American Samoa law and that BoH has established that it is likely to succeed on its merits,” the motion said and noted that Marisco joins in BoH’s motion for injunctive relief against ASG and its attorneys.

A hearing on the BoH motion is set for tomorrow before U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi.



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