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Another appeal from ASG re: BoH funds deposited into court account

fili@samoanews.com

The American Samoa Government is appealing a Honolulu federal court’s order allowing the Bank of Hawai’i to deposit into the court’s registry the more than $800,000 garnished from the ASG account with BoH to pay for the Marisco Ltd., settlement which was resolved through a federal mediator.

ASG already has another appeal with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals based in San Francisco, appealing a separate ruling by the same in September which allowed BoH to garnish the money in the ASG account domiciled at the bank’s branch in American Samoa.

The garnishment came after the lower court granted a Writ of Execution requested by Marisco, who sought payment of services provided to ASG.  BoH ended up being in the middle of the legal battle between ASG and Marisco.

NEW APPEAL

In an Oct. 5 order, U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi granted the BoH motion to deposit the $824,071.15 garnished from the ASG account into the federal court’s non-interest bearing account. This was done on Oct. 22.

In her ruling Kobayashi says allowing the bank to interplead the funds garnished from ASG’s account would not materially alter the status of the case during ASG’s appeal of the lower court’s first ruling on this case.

“Granting the interpleader would preserve the status quo because it would prevent either Marisco or ASG from utilizing the funds to the other party’s detriment during the pendency of the appeal of the Disbursement Order,” she said.

Last Friday, ASG gave notice it is appealing Kobayashi’s Oct. 5th order. According to the appellate court’s electronic records, ASG is to file its opening brief by Feb. 11, 2013 and BoH to file the answering brief by Mar. 13. Marisco is to file by Mar. 12— all next year.

It’s unclear as to the special legal issues to be argued by ASG on its appeal. But in it’s Oct. 24th opposition reply to the bank’s request for injunctive relief to enjoin ASG and its attorneys from instituting or continuing any proceedings against the bank before the High Court of American Samoa with respect to garnished money, ASG argued that both Marisco and BoH are residents of Hawaii — citing federal cases. ASG said the court erred in issuing the Oct. 5 order which should be vacated and the motion to interplead the funds denied with prejudice.

ASG has a separate case against BoH pending in the High Court, who held a hearing last week on ASG’s motion to enforce the local court’s ruling for BoH to reinstate the more than$800,000 garnished from its account.



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