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ALAI`ASA FILIFILI,v.SEUFALE SEIULI

 

ALAI`ASA FILIFILI, Plaintiff,
v.
SEUFALE SEIULI, Defendant.
High Court of American Samoa
Land and Titles Division
LT No. 30-92
February 11, 2002

 

[1] T.C.R.C.P. Rule 56(c) requires the court to not only treat the adverse
party's evidence as true but that the adverse party must also be given the

benefit of all inferences reasonably deducible from the evidence.
Before KRUSE, Chief Justice, and ATIULAGI, Associate Judge.
Counsel: For Plaintiff, Tautai Aviata F. Fa`alevao
For Defendant, Afoafouvale L.S. Lutu
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND
DIRECTING TRIAL SETTING

This matter came on regularly for hearing on February 11, 2002, upon
plaintiff Alai`asa's motion for summary judgment. Alai`asa contends the
absence of triable issues of fact and that he is entitled, as a matter of law,
to summary judgment. T.C.R.C.P. Rule 56.
The dispute concerns a house site, on land located in Faleniu village
which Alai`asa claims to be "Toa," and the subject of previous litigation
before this court in Moea`i v. Te`o, 8 A.S.R.2d 85 (Land & Titles Div.
1988); aff'd sub nom. Moea`i v. Alai`a, 12 A.S.R.2d 91 (App. Div.
1989). In that matter, an area of land known as "Toa" was awarded to
the Alai`asa's family, while other portions of immediately adjacent land
were awarded to the Moea`i family.
In support of his motion for summary judgment, Alai`asa filed his
affidavit averring, inter alia, that: 1) defendant Seiuli's house lies within
"Toa" as awarded him in Moea`i v. Te`o, supra; and that 2) Seiuli's claim
to entitlement is derivative based, upon the competing title claims of
Moea'i and/or Te'o, which claims the Moea`i v. Te`o court had resolved
in his favor. Alai`asa thus argues a res judicata bar to defendant's
derivative claims, citing to Alai`asa v. Te`o, 5 A.S.R.3d 266, (Land &
Titles Div. 2001).
With regard to Alai`asa's contention that Seiuli's claim is derivative
based, we find that Seiuli had admitted as much in her deposition taken
July 2, 2001. Seiuli had indeed deposed that she was brought onto the
land in question by Moea`i in 1970. Dep. Tr. 4.
Seiuli, however, argues triable issues of fact. In her deposition, Seiuli
also deposed that the land she was living on is Moea`i family land
known as "Vaivai." Dep. Tr. 11. She moreover contends that Alai`asa's
averment as to the location of her house is merely self-serving and that
Alai`asa ought to be put to proof. (See Def.'s Opp'n To Pl.'s Mot. Summ.
J. at 2.)
[1] We agree with Seiuli that there are triable issues of fact precluding

summary judgment. In essence, she says "Vaivai," he says "Toa." But
T.C.R.C.P. Rule 56(c) requires the court to "not only treat the adverse
party's evidence as true but [that] [s]he must also be given the benefit of
all inferences reasonably deducible from the evidence." D. Gokal & Co.
Ltd., v. Daily Shoppers, Inc., 13 A.S.R.2d 11, 12 (Tr. Div. 1989), citing
Lokan v. Lokan, 6 A.S.R.2d 44, (Tr. Div. 1987). See also Plaza
Department Stores v. Duchnak, 26 A.S.R.2d 82. (Tr. Div. 1994) ("the
court must . . . resolve all doubts as to the existence of genuine issues of
fact against the moving party, and view all inferences from the facts in
the light most favorable to part[y] opposing the motion"). On this basis,
Alai`asa's motion for summary judgment must fail.
Order
Accordingly, plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is hereby denied.
Counsel are directed to confer with the Clerk of Courts as to the earliest
available trial date.1
It is so ordered.