Governor appoints Talauega Elesalo Ale as AG
Talauega Elesalo Ale has been appointed as the Attorney General and his name will be submitted to the Fono for confirmation. This was confirmed by the Governor’s Executive Assistant Iulogologo Joseph Pereira in response to Samoa News queries.
Talauega 45, of Nua and Se’etaga was hired by the Togiola and Faoa Administration when Fepulea’i Arthur Ripley was the Attorney General. Talauega has worked as Deputy AG for ASG’s Civil Division since August 2012. He managed the Civil Division and assisted the AG in running operations of the Department of Legal Affairs, which also oversees the Immigration Office.
Last week Governor Lolo announced that Talauega was to be the Acting AG until a permanent candidate was appointed. He is the son of the late Tauaitu Va’alele Ale of Fitiuta, Manu’a and Aiga Taveuveu of Nua and Se’etaga.
As Deputy AG, Talauega was lead counsel on complex civil litigation matters and supervising counsel on transactional matters involving ASG. He represented matters such as defending ASG in the appeal of an insurance subrogation action by Progressive Insurance wherein the lower court had awarded damages in the amount $6 million against ASG; in legal actions to recover communal lands condemned or purchased by the U.S. Navy in the early to mid-1900s and by the Department of Interior in the 1960s for government operations. He defended ASG -owned hospital – Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center – in employment actions resulting from proposed hospital reorganization, and in medical malpractice /wrongful death actions. He also directed settlement of an age discrimination action by the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, which avoided a government wide age discrimination action.
Talauega also directed settlement of a Department of Labor action against the ASG regarding non-payment of overtime wages, which avoided further costly litigation; as well as representing ASG in a lawsuit against Bank of Hawaii regarding attachment of ASG funds to satisfy a judgment in Hawaii.
He was also the counsel who represented ASG in a land case involving title to a rainforest and secured injunction against the purported owner enjoining future development and destruction of the last remaining lowland rainforest in American Samoa. The case is currently on appeal.
Ale also negotiated payment of approximately $1.3 million to ASG from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement Fund; and, assisted in securing ASG’s participation in settlement of a consumer class action against Toyota, which resulted in a payment of about $470,000 to ASG.
Talauega worked at the law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels in Minneapolis for 17 years, where he made partner after working seven years as an Associate, then staying on another ten years with the firm, where he developed a successful practice focused on commercial litigation, particularly high-profile disputes involving complex real estate transactions, eminent domain, nonprofits, and commercial contracts.
When he first started working for ASG, Talauega told Samoa News it was a dream come true being a lawyer in the court, because he has wanted to be an attorney since he was young. Ale put his dream into action by attending law school. He was a law clerk for the Hawai’i Intermediate Court of Appeals in 1994 and was a Legislative Assistant in the 90s for US Senator Daniel K. Inouye.
Talauega attended Drake University Law School, in Des Moines, Iowa where he received a J.D. with honors in 1994. In 1990 he received a BA from Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University). He is a graduate of Marist Brothers High School.
He is a member of the Bar in Hawai’i, Minnesota and American Samoa.
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