ASG and Port Director named as defendants in Casamar lawsuit
Casamar Samoa has sued the American Samoa Government, Port Director Taimalelagi Dr Claire Tuia Poumele (in her individual capacity) Purse Seine Samoa, Greg Stuart and others for damages for declaratory relief, trespassing, and breach of lease among other charges. The 20-page lawsuit was filed in the High Court last week by Roy Hall Jr., attorney for Casamar.
(Samoa News understands Greg Stuart, who lives in San Pedro, California, is the owner and operator of Purse Seine Samoa.)
FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS COMMON TO ALL CAUSES OF ACTION
According to the lawsuit, on January 12, 2008 then Governor Togiola Tulafono signed the Casamar, Inc lease, and on two occasions Casamar timely exercised its option to extend the lease. It is alleged that in December 2014, the ASG, through Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale, issued notice of default and termination of lease in Fagatogo and asked plaintiff to cure default within 30 days of receiving the notice.
On December 30, 2014 Casamar gave notice to the AG by email that they cured the default and requested inspection of the net yard operations. The complaint further states that Casamar informed the AG that Poumele had announced that the Casamar lease was cancelled and she had entered into a new lease with another net yard company. It’s alleged that on January 2, 2015 Casamar further gave notice to the AG that Casamar management had the net yard in full operation, and the default had been cured.
“On January 20, 2015 defendant Poumele authorized the FV Sea Encounter to off load its net onto Casamar’s leased premises without permission or consent of Casamar and believe that Poumele permitted Purse Seiner Samoa to bring equipment and other material onto Casamar’s leased premises without permission.
“PSS is now trespassing and wrongfully using, occupying and possessing a portion of the Casamar lease premises,” the complaint states.
On January 20, 2015, according to the complaint, AG Talauega issued a notice of termination and it was effective that day.
Plaintiff claims the actions of the Attorney General and Poumele were wrongful acts that cause a breach of the lease, breach of the covenant of express and implied quiet enjoyment, wrongful eviction, interference with prospective economic advantage, trade slander and civil conspiracy.
“The lease is a commercial contract with implied conditions of good faith and fair dealing, however lessor and/or with other defendants acted, and continue to act in bad faith and deal unfairly with Casamar to its detriment and continuing damage.
According to the complaint Casamar seeks an injunction restraining ASG from interfering with Casamar’s rights of use, occupancy and quiet enjoyment of the leased premises under the lease.
Casamar further seeks judgment against defendants for damages in an amount to be proven at trial, with attorney fees and costs. For the trespassing count, plaintiff is asking that this damage is in the amount of $10,000 a day or an amount to be proven at trial including injunctive relief with attorney fees and costs.
Casamar further asks the court for punitive damages deemed appropriate by the court against defendants in an amount to be proven at trial; for reasonable attorney fees, costs of suit and for such other relief as the court deems proper and just.