1.0412 Removal of title after year’s absence—Procedure—Default.

Cite as [A.S.C.A. § 1.0412 ]

(a) Any matai absent from American Samoa for more than 1 year may be removed of his title upon petition filed in the High Court by any member of the family of the absent matai. Upon presentation of such petition and satisfactory proof of such absence, the Court may, but need not, remove such title. The Court in its discretion may consider the reasons for such absence and the wishes of the family actively serving the matai.

(b) Service shall be made in accordance with subsection (b) of 1.0411

(c) The Court, in its discretion, shall set the time for hearing of the cause so as to allow sufficient and reasonable time for the matai to appear in his defense, either in person or by counsel.

(d) Failure to appear in person or by counsel, after proper service, shall be sufficient for the Court to find the defendant in default.

History: 1968, PL 10-61.

Case Notes:

Having the discretion to permit an absent matai to retain his title, a court may, but is not required to, consider the wishes of family members actively serving the matai. A.S.C.A. § 1.0412. Aoelua v. Aoelua Family, 21 A.S.R.2d 1 (1992).

High Court may remove a titleholder from a matai title upon a petition by any member of his family if the court finds the titleholder has been absent from American Samoa for more than one year. A.S.C.A. § 1.0412. Alai’asa v. Seigafo, 17 A.S.R.2d 3 (1990).

High Court may remove a title from a matai upon a petition by any member of his family if the court finds the matai has been absent from American Samoa for more than one year. A.S.C.A. § 1.0412 (a). Aoelua Family v. Aoelua, 17 A.S.R.2d 88 (1990).

Absence from American Samoa for purposes of statute allowing the court to remove a titleholder absent from territory for more than one year from his matai title is a different question from whether one is a bona fide resident. A.S.C.A. § 1.0412(a). Aoelua Family v. Aoelua, 17 A.S.R.2d 88 (1990).

A matai absent from American Samoa may be removed through a petition process. A.S.C.A. § 1.0412. Leapagatele v. Nyel, 17 A.S.R.2d 201 (1990).

Active service for the matai and the family is necessary to have the requisite standing to petition for a matai’s removal for cause; however, only family membership is necessary to have standing to petition for the removal of a matai who has been absent from American Samoa for more than one year. A.S.C.A. §§ 1.0411, 1.0412. Aoelua v. Aoelua Family, 21 A.S.R.2d 1 (1992).

A matai title bestowed contrary to statute cannot be registered or otherwise recognized; and use of an unregistered matai title is a criminal act. A.S.C.A. §§ 1.0401-1.0414. Toilolo v. Poti, 23 A.S.R.2d 130 (1993).