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High Court denies ASG motion to deposit insurance money into Court Registry

The Land and Titles Division of the High Court says it sees no reason why insurance money — received by Bay Area Diesel Inc. following a fire that destroyed the company’s building — should be deposited in the Court Registry, and therefore denied the American Samoa Government’s motion for the proceeds to be deposited in said registry.

The company’s facility is located on leased land at the government owned Tafuna Industrial Park and was one of the local firms sued by ASG last year to collect rent in arrears.

According to the court decision, dated Mar. 2, ASG sought an order of the court to require Bay Area Diesel to deposit insurance proceeds from the fire into the Court Registry until the court further orders.

It also says that this action arises out of a disagreement between ASG and Bay Area Diesel over what portion of the interest and late fees, which have accrued as a consequence of defendant’s failure to timely pay the rent under the parties’ lease agreement,  that defendant is obligated to pay.

“We note of the fact that defendant has paid past rents due under the lease agreement,” according to the decision signed by Associate Justice Lyle L. Richmond and Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr.

“Based on this information and other facts that both sides have presented thus far, it does not appear to us that defendant intends to break the lease and default on its debt obligations to plaintiff,” the judges point out. “Rather, it appears that defendant wants to save the lease, continue occupying and using the property and settle any undisputed debts it owes plaintiff.”

“We see no cause for concern here. We are not convinced defendant will misapply the insurance proceeds. Therefore, at this time, we see no reason to have the insurance proceeds placed into the court registry,” the judges said and “denied” ASG’s motion.

There was no mention in the court decision as to how much Bay Area Diesel has received or is expected to receive from the insurance money.

The government was represented in this case by Assistant Attorney General Sarah S. Everett, while local attorney Fiti A. Sunia represented Bay Area Diesel.