FOLENI of Fagatogo, Plaintiff
FAATELEUPU of Fagatogo, Defendant
High Court of American Samoa
Civil Jurisdiction, Trial Division
[Matai Name: "Samia"]
December 30, 1936
Action to declare matai. High Court, Chief Justice H.P. Wood, presiding, held that plaintiff was entitled to hold the matai name "Samia".
Judgment for plaintiff.
Matai Titles-Former Methods of Selection-In General
At the direction of the Annual Fono of 1936, Court will inquire only as to which candidate has best hereditary right to title and questions such as fitness of candidates will not be considered.
The High Court convened at the Courthouse on the U. S. Naval Station on Monday December 28, 1936 at 9:00 a.m. to hear the above entitled case, before Chief Justice WOOD, District Judges PELE and PULETU.
The proponent of the name Samia was Faateleupu who was represented by Amituanai as counsel. The objector was Foleni who was represented by Aumavae as counsel.
At the Annual Fono of 1936 the Eastern District, through its spokesman, a descendant of Tuiasosopo Samia, laid great stress upon the demand that the High Court in the decision of matai name cases should limit its inquiry to the sole question of which of the candidates has the best hereditary right to the name. [1ASR542]
The proponent of the name Samia in this case is a grandson of a former holder of the name - the objector is a son of the last holder of the name.
According to the demand of the Eastern District, what else can the Court consider?
Certainly the son of the last holder of the name has a greater right than the grandson of a former holder. There can be no dispute on this question.
If the Court could consider the questions raised as to pule; the fitness of a candidate to hold the office of matai; whether or not he is the choice of a majority of the family, or the other chiefs of his village, the decision in this case might be different, but as the Eastern District desires that hereditary right alone shall be considered, the Court has no alternative but to award the matai name Samia to Foleni.
The Court costs amounting to $25.00 shall be paid by Faateleupu.