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3.0103 Jurisdiction of court.

Cite as [A.S.C.A. § 3.0103 ]

(a) A court may exercise personal jurisdiction in civil cases over persons residing or found in American Samoa, or who have been duly summoned or voluntarily appear.

(b) Any person, firm or corporation, whether or not a citizen or resident of this Territory, who, in person or through an agent, takes any of the following actions, thereby submits, and if a corporation, submits its personal representative, to the jurisdiction of the courts of this Territory, as to any cause of action, suit or proceeding arising out of such action:

(1) the transaction of any business within this Territory;

(2) the commission of a tortious act within this Territory;

(3) the ownership, use, or possession of any real estate in this Territory;

(4) contracting to insure any person, property or risk within this Territory at the time of contracting.

(c) Criminal cases shall be prosecuted and tried only in a court having Territorial jurisdiction over the place where the crime was committed.

History: 1962, PL 7-36; 1969, PL 11-54; 1970, PL 11-106.

Case Notes:

There is no provision of the American Samoa Code which gives any Court in the Territory, or any division or department of any court, either expressly or by implication, in rem admiralty and maritime jurisdiction. Vessel Fijian Swift v. Trial Division, 4 ASR 983 (1975).

In rem admiralty and maritime jurisdiction in the Trial Division of the High Court cannot be grounded upon “the necessity and importance of in rem Admiralty jurisdiction. in the orderly administration of justice in this maritime Territory”; such determination is for the Legislature. Vessel Fijian Swift v. Trial Division, 4 ASR 983 (1975).

The High Court has in personam jurisdiction over admiralty and maritime causes of action, even though it does not have in rem admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, and in the enforcement of such personal liability, a vessel or other goods or chattels or credits, may be seized, attached and levied upon; and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims, are on their face applicable in such personam cases, insofar as they are consistent with the court’s statutory jurisdiction. Vessel Fijian Swift v. Trial Division, 4 ASR 983 (1975).

A Court may extend personal jurisdiction over persons or businesses on the basis of their contacts with American Samoa. A.S.C.A. § 3.0103(b); Pene v. Bank of Hawaii, 19 A.S.R.2d 52 (1991).

A Court may exercise personal jurisdiction in civil cases over persons who either reside or are found in American Samoa, have been duly summoned, or voluntarily appear. A.S.C.A. § 3.0103(a); Pene v. Bank of Hawaii, 19 A.S.R.2d 52 (1991).