Am. Samoa Gov’t v. Tama

 

AMERICAN SAMOA GOVERNMENT, Plaintiff

 

v.

 

CCJS MAFATAGA TAMA, Defendants.

 

High Court of American Samoa

 

Trial Division

 

PHC No. 11776

 

October 24, 2003

 

[1] Health permits for selling prepared food to the public are valid for a period of one year, in accordance with A.S.C.A. § 25.0504; a Department of Health official cannot recover a fee for issuing a health permit nor issue one for a period less than one year.

 

Before KRUSE, Chief Justice.

 

Counsel: For Plaintiff, Martin McCarthy, Assistant Attorney General

 

For Defendants, Glen Levi, pro se

 

The Defendants are a youth organization of the CCJS Church of Fagatogo. A public health officer cited them for roadside barbecue fund-raising (selling prepared food to the public) without a health permit, in violation of A.S.C.A. § 25.0501. In fact, the Defendants had a health permit issued by the Department of Health, which had on its face expired. The permit issued to the Defendants was for three months. Additionally, a fee for the issuance thereof was assessed for the permit.

 

The Defendants take exception with the citation arguing that the law requires that the duration of a health permit shall be for one year, and not three months. See A.S.C.A. § 25.0504. They further take exception with the permitting scheme they were subjected to as an unauthorized money-making ruse.1

 

[1] The Defendants are absolutely right. A.S.C.A. § 25.0504 provides that a health permit “shall be valid for one year from the day of issuance” (emphasis added). Furthermore, “[n]o fee or charge may be made for issuing a permit.” Id. The issuing official acted not only without authority but in clear contravention of the statute.2

 

1 It was not exactly clear on the evidence where the permit fees were

 

deposited.

 

2 The permit cites to “Section 25.0601” as authority for issuing a three-

 

 

 

With the government’s complicity in the Defendants’ situation, the citation will be dismissed.

 

It is so ordered.

 

**********

 

month permit. A review of § 25.0601 reveals that this enactment has

 

absolutely nothing to do with authorizing three-month permits.

 

Moreover, the statutory permit-issuing authority is the “Director of

 

Health.” See A.S.C.A. § 25.0501. Here, the official signing off on the

 

permit in question gives his title as “Chief Environmental Health

 

Services.”