Ten year old lawsuit against ASPA finally settled
A ten year old lawsuit against the American Samoa Power Authority involving an ASPA truck that struck a boy in Aunu’u is now settled. The incident occurred some twelve years ago.
The lawsuit was filed by the boy’s parents Faimafili and Tulituli Upuese when their son, Raymond was 11 years old. Raymond, who is now 21 years old, has permanent injuries and disfigurement to his left foot and leg due to the accident.
The plaintiff’s were represented by Jennifer Joneson while Roy Hall Jr represented ASPA in this matter.
Hall told Samoa News outside the court that ASPA has agreed to pay a monetary compensation to Raymond who is currently an employee of ASPA working at ASPA’s power plant in Aunu’u, which is part of the settlement with the plaintiffs.
He added that ASPA is happy to have Raymond as part of their ASPA crew in Aunu’u. The ASPA lawyer also said they cannot disclose how much compensation Raymond will receive from ASPA in regard to the accident.
Presiding over this matter was Chief Justice Michael Kruse.
The lawsuit, which was filed two years after the incident occurred, states that on April 11, 2000 “while operating a truck owned by ASPA... defendant Setefano Opaopa did negligently and/or carelessly drive said truck in such a manner as to cause a collision with pedestrian Raymond Upuese” in the village of Aunu’u.
According to the lawsuit, Opaopa failed to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians while operating the ASPA truck. He also failed to drive the truck at a safe or prudent speed given the conditions of the road and pedestrians. Opaopa also failed to take appropriate action to avoid colliding with pedestrians just prior to the collision with Raymond.
The lawsuit says the truck involved was owned by ASPA, who failed to maintain proper supervision, training and /or instruction of their employee Opaopa in the operation of the ASPA truck in carrying out his duties and responsibilities in Aunu’u.
The lawsuit further stated that ASPA failed to maintain appropriate supervision controls or management of the truck so as not to be used without authorization.
According to the 10-year old lawsuit, as a result of the incident, Raymond sustained serious and permanent injuries and disfigurement to his left foot and leg, and as well as injury and disfigurement to other parts of his body.
Court records state that Raymond has been mentally and emotionally distressed as a result of the accident. The lawsuit also incurred future expenses for medical treatment of Raymond’s permanent injuries, rehabilitation and education.
The lawsuit states that due to Opaopa’s negligence, Raymond’s parents has had to take time off from work and family obligations while they tended to Raymond for his medical treatment and rehabilitation. “They have incurred expenses for travel and accommodations off-island” due to his injuries and subsequent treatment.
The family asked for $600,000 from ASPA and Opaopa jointly and severally for general damages and for special damages because Raymond was a minor at the time of the incident.