ASG DISMISSAL MOTION DENIED
The Attorney General’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit by two local companies after the government took apart a fishing vessel that wound up on government land following the 2009 tsunami has been denied by the Trial Division of the High Court.
The ruling issued Tuesday was signed by Associate Justice Lyle Richmond and Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr.
ASG moved to dismiss the lawsuit noting that the owners of the fishing vessel Native Resources Developers and Green Gold Enterprises Inc. cannot prevail over the negligence claims as a matter of law. The government also challenged the court's subjecting matter jurisdiction.
The fishing vessel MC Gogosina was washed up onto government land in Pago Pago and the government took apart the fishing vessel without consulting the owners.
The ruling issued says the plaintiffs claim the Gogosina fishing vessel was worth millions of dollars; and that it could still be out in the sea. Further, they claim they had applied for federal funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to retrofit the boat. GGE also sought FEMA tsunami relief funds to return the Gogosina safely to sea. However, the government went ahead and dismantled the fishing vessel without the owners’ permission.
The Native Resources Developers and Green Gold Enterprises Inc. says the government acted negligently when it failed to award them federal assistance and also when it did not ask for permission from the owners of the Gogosina before dismantling the fishing vessel.
According to the ruling the judges said they are disinclined to render a judgment on the pleadings because they are not altogether convinced that plaintiffs would not prevail as a matter of law.
The ruling says Native Resources Developers and Green Gold Enterprises Inc. appears to have presented three theories of negligence that rest on seemingly novel duties that they are unwilling to discount at this juncture. It's therefore premature to render a judgment on the pleadings at this point. According to the ruling the judge’s decision also moots ASG's assertion that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the negligence claims.
MATTHEW MELEISEA & JUVENILES
The government has filed criminal charges against Matthew Meleisea and four juveniles in connection with stealing beer from a grocery store in Tafuna last month. The juveniles along with 18-year old Meleisea are facing stealing and conspiracy to commit stealing which are both misdemeanors.
According to the government’s case Meleisea and several juveniles entered Fialoa Mart on February 15, 2012. Meleisea grabbed a case of Tausala Beer and placed it on the counter in front of the cashier and asked how much it cost. The cashier asked the defendant for his age. It’s alleged the defendant then grabbed the case of beer and ran out of the store with the case of beer without paying for it.
Police affidavit states the defendant admitted to stealing the case of beer, hid in the bushes, and drank the beer with his friends.
A co-defendant, who’s a juvenile, told police that before they entered the store Meleisea asked the juveniles if they were willing to steal a case of beer. The juveniles are accused of running outside of the store with cookies and chips. The government claims the actions by the defendants were caught on the store’s video surveillance camera.
JUVENILES CHARGED FOR SMOKING WEED IN SCHOOL
The two high school students who were arrested after they were allegedly caught smoking marijuana behind a math building at Tafuna High School on Monday made their initial appearance before District Court Judge John Ward. The pair were caught by an official of the school.
The juveniles — both 16 years of age — have been charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, namely marijuana. One of them told police he got the marijuana joint from a friend and he took it to school so he and his school mate could smoke it.
According to the government’s case while one juvenile was smoking the joint behind the Math building the other juvenile was on the lookout for school officials.
It’s alleged when the school official caught the juveniles, the accused who had the marijuana joint threw it away. The teacher picked up the half joint, took the pair to the office and police were contacted.
The police confiscated the joint and rolling paper commonly use for marijuana. The joint was tested using the Duqenoise Levine test and the test yielded positive as marijuana.
Sentencing for Andres Villar has been rescheduled to April 5, 2012.
The twenty-one-year-old pled guilty to two counts of stealing after breaking into the Department of Health, vandalizing the building, and stealing two DOH vehicles October last year.
During his plea agreement hearing the defendant told the court he was angry at his father, who is off-island, and this anger made him break into the Health Center. The plea deal with the government is that the defendant is to pay restitution for the government vehicles and properties that were damaged as a result of his actions.
Each count of stealing carries a jail term of up to 7 years and or a fine of up to $5,000.
Villar is represented by the public defender’s office while prosecuting was Cecilia Reyna.