Trial Court Rules
RULE 1. TITLE AND SCOPE.
(a) These rules govern summary repossession proceedings in the High Court of American Samoa Trial Division. They shall be known as the Trial Court Rules for Summary Repossession and cited as TCRSR _________.
(b) Insofar as these rules explicitly contradict the statutory provisions found in Title 43, Chapter 14 of the American Samoa Code Annotated (hereinafter “A.S.C.A.”), the latter will take precedence.
(c) No provision of these rules shall be construed to prevent the bringing of a subsequent action for damages in the Land and Titles Division or, when appropriate, the Trial Division of the High Court of American Samoa. The remedy provided by summary repossession is in addition to, and not exclusive of, other remedies, either legal, equitable, or statutory. A judgment for repossession does not merge with or bar any other claim for relief.
HISTORY: Effective June 1, 2012
RULE 2. ACTION FOR REPOSSESSION
(a) A summary repossession action shall be deemed filed with the High Court of American Samoa upon the payment of the required filing fee and the timely filing of a complaint for repossession.
(b) A valid complaint for repossession shall have two exhibits attached thereon: firstly, a copy of the demand letter for repossession or payment in the form outlined in A.S.C.A. § 43.1406, and, secondly, a copy of the lease agreement provided one exists. The complaint will also state:
(1) a reasonably identifiable description of the premises ;
(2) that the defendant is in possession of the premises;
(3) that the defendant
(A) holds the premises in excess of the pertinent lease’s termination or expiration terms;
(B) is in default of the payment of rent 7 days after the service of a written demand letter for repossession for nonpayment of the rent due (however, the rent due cannot include accelerated indebtedness for reason of breach of the lease under which the premises are held);
(C) or any person in possession of the disputed premises, based upon reasonable grounds, is, or has been, engaged in the willful or negligent administration of a serious and continuing health hazard on the disputed premises 7 days after service of a demand letter for repossession of the premises or a demand letter for substantial restoration of disputed premises to pre-hazardous conditions; or
(D) possesses the disputed premises by force after a peaceable entry or came into possession of the premises by trespass without color of title or other possessory interest;
(4) that the defendant was served the demand letter(s) for repossession for violation of lease’s terms, for nonpayment of the rent due, for substantial restoration of disputed premises to pre-hazardous conditions, or for trespass by the method of process outlined in A.S.C.A. § 43.1407; and
(5) that, if applicable, legal damages are attributable to defendant for either wrongful entry, detainer or possession, for breach of the lease or contract under which the disputed premises were held, or for waste or malicious destruction to the premises.
(c) A complaint devoid of the attachments and statements articulated in subsection (b) is subject to dismissal without prejudice at the court’s discretion, if brought by motion, or upon the court’s independent discovery.
HISTORY: Effective June 1, 2012
RULE 3. PROCESS
(a) Summary repossession actions shall be filed and adjudicated in the Trial Division of the High Court of American Samoa or removed thereto.
(b) Upon the filing of a summary repossession action, the Court Clerk will issue a summons (in both Samoan and English) commanding the defendant to appear for trial within 10 days of the filing of a summary repossession action. The trial date can be extended by the court. However, summons must be served not less than 3 days before the date set for trial.
(c) Except as provided within these rules, the provisions of the Trial Court Rules of Civil Procedure and Rules of Evidence are applicable in summary repossession proceedings for purposes of issuing process and subpoenas, rendering default judgment, authenticating documents, accepting the testimony of witnesses, etc.
HISTORY: Effective June 1, 2012
RULE 4. DEFENDANT’S AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES TO A REPOSSESSION ACTION
(a) A judgment for repossession of the premises for an alleged termination of tenancy may not be entered against a defendant if one or more of the following are established:
(1) the alleged termination was intended primarily as retribution for a lawful act arising out of the tenancy;
(2) the plaintiff attempted to increase the defendant’s obligations under the lease or contract as a penalty for a lawful act and that the defendant’s failure to perform the additional obligations was the primary reason for the alleged termination of tenancy; or
(3) the plaintiff committed a breach of the lease which excuses the payment of rent if possession is claimed for nonpayment of rent.
HISTORY: Effective June 1, 2012
RULE 5. CONTINUANCE
Should the court, in its discretion, grant a continuance, or if the parties stipulate to a continuance in writing, its term shall not exceed 7 days, sufficient security as a condition may be mandated. Unless the action is continued for court-scheduling conflicts, any summary repossession action unresolved by trial or agreement within the timeframe promulgated in A.S.C.A. § 43.1410 and these rules shall be dismissed without prejudice.
HISTORY: Effective June 1, 2012
RULE 6. JUDGMENT ON TRIAL BY COURT
If, after hearing the evidence the court concludes that the complaint is not true, it shall enter judgment against the plaintiff for costs. If the court finds the complaint true or if judgment is rendered by default, the court shall render a general judgment against the defendant and in favor of the plaintiff, for restitution of the premises and the costs of the action. If the court finds the complaint true in part, it shall render judgment for the restitution of such part only, and the costs shall be taxed as the court deems just and equitable. Any person who shall become a subtenant of the premises or any part thereof after the service of notice as provided in these rules shall be bound by the judgment. No provision of these rules shall be construed to prevent the bringing of an action for damages.
HISTORY: Effective June 1, 2012
RULE 7. JOINDER OF CLAIMS AND COUNTERCLAIMS
A party to a summary repossession action may join claims and counterclaims for money judgment for damages attributable to wrongful entry, detainer or possession, for breach of the lease or contract under which the premises were held, or for waste or malicious destruction to the premises. However, it is within the court’s discretion to order separate summary disposition of the claim for possession, without prejudice to other claims or counterclaims. The other claims and counterclaims if raised in a summary repossession action can be heard by either the Trial Division or the Land and Titles Division of the High Court of American Samoa.
HISTORY: Effective June 1, 2012
RULE 8. DETERMINATION OF AMOUNT PAYABLE TO PRECLUDE ISSUANCE OF WRIT OF REPOSSESSION
(a) If it is found that the plaintiff is entitled to possession of the premises, in consequence of the nonpayment of money due under a tenancy, the court determines the amount due or in arrears at the time of trial and will state that amount in the judgment for repossession.
(b) In determining the amount due under a tenancy, the court deducts, if any, that portion of the rent which it finds to be excused by the plaintiff’s breach of the lease. This amount which, together with taxed costs, is the amount a tenant must pay to plaintiff to preclude issuance of the writ of restitution. The judgment may include an award of costs.
(c) If the defendant pays the amount due under a tenancy calculated under subsection (b) within 10 days of the issuance of a judgment for repossession, a writ of repossession shall not issue.
(d) If the plaintiff is exercising a termination clause contained in a lease that was not affirmatively pled and proven by defendant to be influenced by those circumstances contained in Rule 4 of these rules, or no written lease filed with the Territorial Registrar pursuant to A.S.C.A. § 37.0210 exists, then subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this Rule are inapplicable.
HISTORY: Effective June 1, 2012
RULE 9. ISSUANCE OF WRIT OF REPOSSESSION
(a) A writ of repossession shall not issue until 10 days after a judgment for repossession.
(b) If TCRSR 8(b) is applicable, a writ of restitution shall not issue if a tenant pays the amount due under a tenancy within 10 days following a judgment for repossession.
(c) If the defendant in a repossession action files a motion for new trial and a subsequent notice of appeal, the court may mandate the defendant file a satisfactory bond to stay proceedings. If either a motion for new trial or a notice of appeal is filed, a writ shall not issue until the final disposition of the appeal, or motion for new trial should the defendant not seek an appeal.
(d) Should judgment of restitution render, the writ shall be in the following form:
TO: THE MARSHAL OF THE HIGH COURT OR ANY POLICE OFFICER
A judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant in a summary eviction action was entered on __________[date] for restitution of the following premises:
_________________[description of the property in metes and bounds, if possible, or with enough clarity to effectuate]
It is ordered that within 10 days after you receive this writ, you remove or supervise removal of the Defendant and all other person found upon the premises claiming under the Defendant and restore unto Plaintiff full possession of the premises.
It is so ordered.
HISTORY: Effective June 1, 2012
RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE
C. Trial Court Rules (TCR)
I. Rules of Civil Procedure
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Rule 66. (Omitted)
SUPPLEMENTAL RULES FOR CERTAIN ADMIRALTY & MARITIME CLAIMS
C. TRIAL COURT RULES (TCR)
I. RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE (TCRCP)
These rules govern the procedure in the High Court and District of American Samoa in all suits of a civil nature whether cognizable as cases at law or in equity or in admiralty. They shall be construed to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action. These rules shall be known as the Rules of Civil Procedure and cited as ____________TCRCP.
There shall be one form of action to be known as "civil action."
A civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with the court.
(a)Summons: Insurance. Upon the filing of the complaint the clerk shall forthwith issue a summons and deliver it for service to the marshal or to such person designated under (c) below. Upon request of the plaintiff separate or additional summons shall issue against any defendants.
(b)Same:Form. The summons shall be signed by the clerk, be under the seal of the court, contain the name of the court and the names of the parties, be directed to the defendant, state the name and address of the plaintiff's attorney, if any, otherwise the plaintiff's address, and the time within which these rules require the defendant to appear and defend, and shall notify him that in case of his failure to do so judgment by default will be rendered against him for the relief demanded in the complaint. The summons shall be in English and Samoan.
(c)By Whom Served. Service of all process shall be made by the marshal of the court or by any person who is at least 18 years of age and not a party to the action.
(d)Summons: Personal Service. The summons and complaint shall be served together. The plaintiff shall furnish the person making service with such copies as are necessary. Service shall be made as follows:
(1) Upon an individual other than an infant or an incompetent person, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to him personally or by leaving copies thereof at his dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein or by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process.
(2) Upon an infant, by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to his parent, guardian, conservator, or similar fiduciary, or, if no such person can be found with reasonable diligence, to any person having the care or control of such minor or with whom he is employed, and to the minor if he is at least 12 years of age. A summons may be served on a person (other than a minor) for whom a guardian, conservator, or similar fudiciary has been appointed by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to his guardian, conservator, or similar fiduciary and to such person, but, for good cause shown, the court in which the action is pending may dispense with delivery to such person.
(3) Upon a domestic or foreign corporation or upon a partnership or other unincorporated association which is subject to suit under a common name, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to an officer, a managing or general agent, or to any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process and, if the agent is one authorized by statute to receive service and the statute so requires, by also mailing a copy to the defendant.
(4) Upon the United States, by registered or certified mail to the Attorney General of the United States at Washington, District of Columbia, and in any action attacking the validity of an order of an officer or agency of the United States not made a party, by also sending a copy of the summons and of the complaint by registered or certified mail to such officer or agency.
(5) Upon an officer or agency of the United States, by serving the United States and by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to such officer of agency. If the agency is a coporation the copy shall be delivered as provided in paragraph (3) of this subdivision of this rule.
(6) Upon the American Samoa Government or other government organization in American Samoa subject to suit, by delivering a copy of the summons and of the complaint to the Attorney General or a duly designated representative of the Attorney General.
(7) Upon a defendant of any class referred to in paragraph (1) or (3) or this subdivision of this rule, it is also sufficient if the summons and complaint are served in the manner prescribed by 43.0501 ASCA or other applicable statutes for the service of summons or other like process upon any such defendant in an action brought in the High Court of American Samoa.
(e)Same:Service Upon Party Not Inhabitant of or Found in Territory. Whenever a statute of American Samoa or an order of court thereunder provides for service of a summons, or of a notice, or of an order in lieu of summons upon a party not an inhabitant of or found within American Samoa, service may be made under the circumstances and in the manner prescribed by the statute or order, or, if there is no provision therein prescribing the manner of service, in a manner stated in this rule. Whenever a statute or rule of court of American Samoa provides (1) for service of a summons, or of a notice, or of an order in lieu of summons upon a party not an inhabitant of or found within the territory, or (2) for service upon or notice to him to appear and respond or defend in an action by reason of the attachment or garnishment or similar seizure of his property located within the territory, service may in either case be made under the circumstances and in the manner prescribed in the statute or rule.
(f)Territorial Limits of Effective Service. All process other than a subpoena may be served anywhere within the territorial limits of American Samoa, and, when authorized by a statute of the United States of American Samoa, or by these rules, beyond the territorial limits of American Samoa. A subpoena may be served within the Territorial limits provided in 45 TCRCP.
(g)Return. The person serving the process shall make proof of service thereof to the court promptly and in any event within the time during which the person served must respond to the process. If service is made by a person other than the marshal or his deputy, he shall make affidavit thereof. Proof of service by publication must conform to the requirements of 43.0503 ASCA. Failure to make proof of service does not affect the validity of the service.
(h)Amendment. At any time in its discretion and upon such terms as it deems just, the court may allow any process or proof of service thereof to be amended, unless it clearly appears that material prejudice would result to the substantial rights of the party against whom the process issued.
(i)Alternative Provisions for Service in a Foreign Country.
(1) Manner. When the federal of territorial law referred to in subdivision (e) of this rule authorizes service upon a party not an inhabitant of or found within the territory, and service is to be effected upon the party in a foreign country, it is also sufficient if service of the summons and complaint is made: (A) in the manner prescribed by the law of the foreign country for service in that country in an action in any of its courts of general jurisdiction; or (B) as directed by the foreign authority in response to a letter rogatory, when service in either case is reasonably calculated to give actual notice; or (C) upon an individual, by delivery to him personally, and upon a corporation or partnership or association, by delivery to an officer, a managing or general agent; or (D) by any form of mail, requiring a signed receipt, to be addressed and dispatched by the clerk of the court to the party to be served; or (E) as directed by order of the court. Service under (C) or (E) above may be made by any person who is not a party and is not less than 18 years of age or who is designated by order of the court or by the foreign court. On request, the clerk shall deliver the summons to the plaintiff for transmission to the person or the foreign court or officer who will make the service.
(2) Return. Proof of service may be made as prescribed by subdivision (g) of this rule, or by the law of the foreign country, or by order of the court. When service is made pursuant to subparagraph (1) (D) of this subdivision, proof of service shall include a receipt signed by the addressee or other evidence of delivery to the addressee satisfactory to the court.
(a) Service: When Required. Except as otherwise provided in this rules, every order required by its terms to be served, every pleading subsequent to the original complaint unless the court otherwise orders because of numerous defendants, every paper relating to discovery required to be served upon a party unless the court otherwise orders, every written motion other than one which may be heard ex parte, and every written notice, appearance, demand, offer of judgment, designation of record on appeal, and similar paper shall be served upon each of the parties. No service need be made on parties in default for failure to appear except that pleadings asserting new or additional claims for relief against them shall be served upon them in the manner provided for service of summons in 4 TCRCP.
In an action begun by seizure of property, in which no person need be or is named as defendant, any service required to be made prior to the filing of an answer, claim, or appearance shall be made upon the person having custody or possession of the property at the time of its seizure.
(b)Same:How Made. Whenever under these rules service is required or permitted to be made upon a party represented by an attorney the service shall be made upon the attorney unless service upon the party himself is ordered by the Court. Service upon the attorney or upon a party shall be made by mailing a copy to him or by mailing it to him at his last known address or, if no address is known, by leaving it with the Clerk of the Court. Delivery of a copy within this rule means: if to an attorney leaving it in the Court box or handing it to the attorney or to the party; or leaving it at his office with his clerk or other person in charge thereof, or if there is no one in charge, leaving it in a conspicuous place therein; or, if the office is closed or the person to be served has no office, leaving it at his dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein. Service by mail is complete upon mailing.
(c)Same:Numerous Defendants. In any action in which there are unusually large numbers of defendants, the court, upon motion or of its own initiative, may order that service of the pleadings of the defendants and replies thereto need not be made as between the defendants and that any cross-claim, counterclaim, or matter constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense contained therein shall be deemed to be denied or avoided by all other parties and that the filing of any such pleading and service thereof upon the plaintiff constitutes due notice of it to the parties. A copy of every such order shall be served upon the parties in such manner and form as the court directs.
(d)Filing. All papers after the complaint required to be served upon a party shall be filed with the court either before service or within a reasonable time thereafter.
(e)Filing with the Court Defined. The filing of pleadings and other papers with the court as required by these rules shall be made by filing them with the clerk of the court, except that the judge may permit the papers to be filed with him, in which event he shall note thereon the filing date and forthwith transmit them to the office of the clerk.
(a)Computation. In computing any period of time prescribed or allowed by these rules, by order of court, or by any applicable statute, the day of the act, event, or default from which the designated period of time begins to run shall not be included. The last day of the period so computed shall be included, unless it is Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday, in which event the period runs until the end of the next day which is not a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday. When the period of time prescribed or allowed is less than 7 days, intermediate Saturday, Sundays, and legal holidays shall be excluded in the computation. As used in this rule and in 77(c) TCRCP, "legal holiday" includes New Year's Day, Washington's Birthday, Flag Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and any other day appointed as a holiday by the Governor or the Fono.
(b)Enlargement. When by these rules or by a notice given thereunder or by order of court an act is required or allowed to be done at or within a specified time, the court for cause shown may at any time in its discretion (1) with or without motion or notice order the period enlarged if request therefor is made before the expiration of the period originally prescribed or as extended by a previous order, or (2) upon motion made after the expiration of the specified period permit the act to be done where the failure to act was the result of excusable neglect; but it may not extend the time for taking any action under 52(b), 59(b), and 60(b) TCRCP, except to the extend and under the conditions stated in them.
(d)For Motions--Affidavits. A written motion, other than one which may be heard ex parte, and notice of the hearing thereof shall be served not later than 10 days before the time specified for the hearing, unless a different period is fixed by these rules or by order of the court. Such an order may for cause shown be made on ex parte application. When a motion is supported by affidavit, the affidavit shall be served with the motion; and, except as otherwise provided in 59(c) TCRCP, opposing affidavits and supporting memorandum may be served not later than 3 days before the hearing, unless the court permits them to be served at some other time.
(e)Additional Time After Service by Mail. Whenever a party has the right or is required to do some act or take some proceedings within a prescribed period after the service of a notice or other paper upon him and the notice or paper is served upon him by mail 6 days shall be added to the prescribed period.
(a)Pleadings. There shall be a complaint and an answer; a reply to a counterclaim denominated as such; an answer to a cross claim, if the answer contains a cross-claim; a third party complaint, if a person who was not an original party is summoned under the provisions of 14 TCRCP; and a third party answer, if a third party complaint is served. No other pleading shall be allowed, except that the court may order a reply to an answer or a third-party answer.
(b)Motions and Other Papers.
(1) An application to the court for an order shall be by motion which, unless made during a hearing or trial, shall be made in writing, shall state with particularity the grounds therefor, and shall set forth the relief or order sought. Each motion shall be accompanied by affidavits or declarations under penalty of perjury sufficient to support any material factual contentions, by an appropriate memorandum or brief which concisely states the arguments supporting the motions and cites authorities on each point, and by a copy of a proposed form of order.
(2) The rules applicable to captions, signing, and other matters of form of pleadings apply to all motions and other papers provided for by these rules.
(c)Demurrers, Pleas, Etc., Abolished. Demurrers, pleas, and exceptions for insufficiency of a pleading shall not be used.
(a)Claims for Relief. A pleading which sets forth a claim for relief, whether an original claim, counter-claim, cross-claim, or third-party claim shall contain (1) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and (2) a demand for judgment for the relief to which he deems himself entitled. Relief in the alternative or of several different types may be demanded.
(b)Defenses; Form of Denials. A party shall state in short and plain terms his defense to each claim asserted and shall admit or deny the averments upon which the adverse party relies. If he is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of an averment, he shall so state and this has the effect of a denial. Denials shall fairly meet the substance of the averments denied. When a pleader intends in good faith to deny only a part or a qualification of an averment, he shall specify so much of it as is true and material and shall deny only the remainder. Unless the pleader intends in good faith to controvert all the averment of the preceding pleadings, he may make his denials as specific denials of designated averments of paragraphs, or he may generally deny all the averments except such designated averments or paragraphs as he expressly admits, but, when he does so intend to controvert all its including avertments of the grounds upon which the court's jurisdiction depends, he may do so by general denial subject to the obligation set forth in 11 TCRCP.
(c)Affirmative Defense. In pleading to a preceding pleading, a party shall set forth affirmatively accord and satisfaction, arbitration and award, assumption of risk, contributory negligence, discharge in bankruptcy, duress, estoppel, failure of consideration, fraud, illegality, injury by fellow servant, laches, license, payment, release, res judicata, statute of frauds, statute of limitations, waiver, and any other matter constituting an avoidance or affirmative defense. When a party has mistakenly designated a defense as counterclaim or a counterclaim as a defense, the court on terms, on justice so requires, shall treat the pleading as if there had been a proper designation.
(d)Effect of Failure to Deny. Averments in a pleading to which a responsive pleading is required, other than those as to the amount of damage, are admitted when not denied in the responsive pleading. Averments in a pleading to which no responsive pleading is required or permitted shall be taken as denied or avoided.
(e)Pleading to be Concise and Direct; Consistency.
(1) Each averment of a pleading shall be simple, concise, and direct. No technical forms of pleadings or motions are required.
(2) A party may set forth two or more statements of a claim or defense alternately or hypothetically, either in one count or defense or in separate counts or defenses. When two or more statements are made in the alternative and one of them if made independently would be sufficient, the pleading is not made insufficient by the insufficiency of one or more of the alternative statements. A party may also state as many separate claims or defense as he has regardless of consistency and whether based on legal, equitable, or maritime grounds. All statements shall be made subject to the obligations set forth in 11 TCRCP.
(f)Construction of Pleadings. All pleadings shall be so construed as to do substantial justice.
(a)Capacity. It is not necessary to aver the capacity of a party to sue or be sued or the authority of a party to sue or be sued in a representative capacity or the legal existence of an organized association of persons that is made a party, except to the extent required to show the jurisdiction of the court. When desires to raise an issue as to the legal existence of any party or the capacity of any party to sue or be sued or the authority of a party to sue or be sued in a representative capacity, he shall do so by specific negative averment, which shall include such supporting particulars as are peculiarly within the pleader's knowledge.
(b)Fraud, Mistake, Condition of the Mind. In all averments of fraud of mistake, the circumstances constituting fraud or mistake shall be stated with particularity. Malice, intent, knowledge, and other condition of mind of a person may be averred generally.
(c)Conditions Precedent. In pleading the performance or occurrence of conditions precedent, it is sufficient to aver generally that all conditions precedent have been performed or have occurred. A denial of performance or occurrence shall be made specifically and with particularity.
(d)Official Document or Act. In pleading an official document or official act it is sufficient to aver that the document was issued or the act done in compliance with law.
(e)Judgment. In pleading a judgment or decision of a domestic or foreign court, judicial or quasi-judicial tribunal, or of a board or officer, it is sufficient to aver the judgment or decision without setting forth matter showing jurisdiction to render it.
(f)Time and Place. For the purpose of testing the sufficiency of a pleading, averments of time and place are material and shall be considered like all other averments of material matter.
(g)Special Damage. When items of special damage are claimed, they shall be specifically stated.
(h)Admiralty and Maritime Claims. A pleading or count setting forth a claim for relief within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction that is also within the jurisdiction of the High Court on some other ground may contain a statement identifying the claim as an admiralty or maritime claim purposes of 14(c) TCRCP and the Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims. If the claim is cognizable only in admiralty, it is an admiralty or maritime claim for those purposes whether so identified or not. The amendment of a pleading to add or withdraw an identifying statement is governed by the principles of 15 TCRCP.
(i)When a party is ignorant of the name of an opposing party and so alleges in his pleading, the opposing party may be designated by any name, and when his true name is discovered, the process and all pleadings and proceedings in the action may be amended by substituting the true name.
(a)See 51-56 HCR.
(c)Statements in a pleading may be adopted by reference in a different part of the same pleading or in another pleading or in any motion. A copy of any written instrument which is an exhibit to a pleading is a part thereof for all purposes.
(a)Signature. Every pleading, written motion, and other paper shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney's individual name, or, if the party is not represented by an attorney, shall be signed by the party. Each paper shall state the signer's address and telephone number, if any. Except when otherwise specifically provided by rule or statute, pleadings need not be verified or accompanied by affidavit. An unsigned paper shall be stricken unless omission of the signature is corrected promptly after being called to the attention of the attorney or party.
(b)Representations to Court. By presenting to the court (whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating) a pleading, written motion, or other paper, an attorney or unrepresented party is certifying that to the best of the persons's knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances, --
(1) it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation;
(2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions therein are warranted by existing law or by a non frivolous argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law or the establishment of new law;
(3) the allegations and other factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation r discovery; and
(4) the denials of factual contentions are warranted on the evidence or , if specifically so identified, are reasonably base on a lack of information or belief.
(c)Sanctions. If, after notice and reasonable opportunity to respond, the court determines that subdivision (b) has been violated, the court may, subject to the conditions stated below, impose an appropriate sanction upon the attorneys, law firms, or parties that have violated subdivision (b) or are responsible for the violation.
(1) How Initiated.
(A) By Motion. A motion for sanctions under this rule shall be made separately from other motions or request and shall describe the specific conduct alleged to violate subdivision (b). It shall be served as provided in Rule 5, but shall not be filed with or presented to the court unless, within 21 days after service of the motion (or such other period as the court may prescribe), the challenged paper, claim, defense, contention, allegation, or denial is not withdrawn or appropriately corrected. If warranted, the court may award to the party prevailing on the motion the reasonable expenses and attoney's fees incurred in presenting or opposing the motion. Absent exceptional circumstances, a law firm shall be held jointly responsible for violations committed by its partners, associates, and employees.
(B) On Court's Initiative. On its own initiative, the court may enter an order describing the specific conduct that appears to violate subdivision (b) and directing an attorney, law firm, or party to show cause why it has not violated subdivision (b) with respect thereto.
(2) Nature of Sanction; Limitation. A sanction imposed for violation of this rule shall be limited to what is sufficient to deter repetition of such conduct or comparable conduct by others similarly situated. Subject to the limitations in subparagraphs (A) and (B), the sanction may consist of, or include, directives of a nonmonetary nature, an order to pay a penalty into court, or, if imposed on motion and warranted for effective deterrence, an order directing payment to the movant of some or all of the reasonable attorney's fees and other expenses incurred as a direct result of the violation.
(A) Monetary sanctions may not be awarded against a represented party for a violation of subdivision (b)(2).
(B) Monetary sanctions may not be awarded on the court's initiative unless the court issues its order to show cause before a voluntary dismissal or settlement of the claims made by or against the party which is, or whose attorneys are, to be sanctioned.
(3) Order. When imposing sanctions, the court shall describe the conduct determined t constitute a violation of this rule and explain the basis for the sanction imposed.
(d)Inapplicability to Discovery. Subdivisions (a) through (c) of this rule do not apply to disclosures and discovery request, response, objections, and motions that are subject to the provisions of Rules 26 through 37.
Effective March 1, 1996
(a)When Presented. A defendant shall serve answer within 20 days after the service of the summons and complaint upon him, except when service is made under 4(e) TCRCP and a different time is prescribed in the order of court.
A party served with pleading stating a cross-claim against him shall serve an answer thereto within 20 days after the service upon him. The plaintiff shall serve his reply to a counterclaim in the answer within 20 days after service of the answer or, if a reply is ordered by the court, within 20 days after service of the order, unless the order otherwise directs. The United States or an officer or agency thereof shall serve an answer to the complaint or to a cross-claim, or a reply to a counterclaim, within 60 days after the service upon the United States attorney of the pleading in which the claim is asserted. The service of a motion permitted under this rule alters these periods to time as follows, unless a different time is fixed by order of the court: (1) if the court denies the motion or postpones its disposition until the trial on the merits, the responsive pleading shall be served within 10 days after notice of the court's action; (2) if the court grants a motion for a more definite statement the responsive pleading shall be served within 10 days after the service of the more definite statement.
(b)How Presented. Every defense, in law or fact, to a claim for relief in any pleading, whether a claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, shall be asserted in the responsive pleading thereto if one is required, except that the following defenses may at the option of the pleader be made by motion: (1) lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, (2) lack of jurisdiction over the person, (3) improper venue, (4) insufficiency of process, (5) insufficiency of service of process, (6) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, (7) failure to join a party under 19 TCRCP. A motion making any of these defense shall be made before pleading if a further pleading is permitted. No defense or objection is waived by being joined with one or more other defenses or objections in a responsive pleading or motion. If a pleading sets forth a claim for relief to which the adverse party is not required to serve a responsive pleading, he may assert at the trial any defense in law or fact to that claim for relief. If, on a motion asserting the defense numbered (6) to dismiss for failure of the pleading to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, matters outside the pleading are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion shall be treated as one for summary judgment and disposed of as provided in 56 TCRCP, and all parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to present all material made pertinent to such a motion by 56 TCRCP.
(c) Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. After the pleadings are closed but within such time as not to delay the trial, any party may move for judgment on the pleadings. If, on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion shall be treated as one for summary judgment and disposed of as provided in 56 TCRCP, and all parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to present all material made pertinent to such a motion by 56 TCRCP.
(d)Preliminary Hearings. The defense specifically enumerated (1)-(7) in subdivision (b) of this rule, whether made in a pleading or by motion, and the motion for judgment mentioned in subdivision (c) of this rule shall be heard and determined before trial on application of any party, unless the court orders that the hearing and determination thereof be deferred until the trial.
(e)Motion for More Definite Statement. If a pleading to which a responsive pleading is permitted is so vague or ambiguous that a party cannot reasonably be required to frame a responsive pleading, he may move for a more definite statement before interposing his responsive pleading. The motion shall point out the defects complained of and the details desired. If the motion is granted and the order of the court is not obeyed within 20 days after notice of the order or within such other time as the court may fix, the court may strike the pleading to which the motion was directed or make such order as it deems just.
(f)Motion to Strike. Upon motion made by a party before responding to a pleading or, if no responsive pleading is permitted by these rules, upon motion made by a party within 10 days after the service of the pleading upon him or upon the court's own initiative at any time, the court may order stricken from any pleading any insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.
(g)Consolidation of Defenses in Motion. A party who makes a motion under this rule may join with it any other motions herein provided for and then available to him. If a party makes a motion under this rule but omits therefrom any defense or objection then available to him which this rule permits to be raised by motion, he shall not thereafter make a motion based on the defense or objection so omitted, except a motion as provided in subdivision (h)(2) hereof on any of the grounds there stated.
(h)Waiver or Preservation of Certain Defense.
(1) A defense of lack of jurisdiction over the person, improper venue, insufficiency of process, or insufficiency of service of process is waived (A) if omitted from a motion in the circumstances described in subdivision (g), or (B) if it is neither made by motion under this rule nor included in a responsive pleading or an amendment thereof permitted by 15(a) TCRCP to be made as a matter of course.
(2) A defense of failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a defense of failure to join a party indispensable under 19 TCRCP, and an objection of failure to state a legal defense to a claim may be made in any pleading permitted or ordered under 7(a) TCRCP, or by motion for judgment on the pleadings, or at the trial on the merits.
(3) Whenever it appears by suggestion of the parties or otherwise that the court lacks jurisdiction of the subject matter, the court shall dismiss the action.
(a)Compulsory Counterclaims. A pleading shall state as a counterclaim any claim which at the time of serving the pleading the pleader has against any opposing party, if it arises out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the opposing party's claim and does not require for its adjudication the presence of third parties of whom the court cannot acquire jurisdiction. But the pleader need not state the claim if (1) at the time the action was commenced the claim was the subject of another pending action, or (2) the opposing party brought suit upon his claim by attachment or other process by which the court did not acquire jurisdiction to render a personal judgment on that claim, and the pleader is not stating any counterclaim under this rule.
(b)Permissive Counterclaims. A pleading may state as a counterclaim any claim against an opposing party not arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the opposing party's claim.
(c)Counterclaim Exceeding Opposing Claim. A counterclaim may or may not diminish or defeat the recovery sought by the opposing party. It may claim relief exceeding in amount or different in kind from that sought in the pleading of the opposing party.
(d)Counterclaim Against the United States. These rules shall not be construed to enlarge beyond the limits now fixed by law the right assert counterclaims or to claim credits against the United States or an officer or agency thereof.
(e)Counterclaim Maturing or Acquired After Pleading. A claim which either matured or was acquired by the pleader after serving his pleading may, with the permission of the court, be presented as a counterclaim by supplemental pleading.
(f)Omitted Counterclaim. When a pleader fails to set up a counterclaim through oversight, inadvertence, or excusable neglect, or when justice requires, he may by leave of court set up the counterclaim by amendment.
(g)Cross-Claim Against Co-Party. A pleading may state as a cross-claim any claim by one party against a co-party arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is subject matter either of the original action or of a counterclaim therein or relating to any property that is the subject matter of the original action. Such cross-claim may include a claim that the party against whom it is asserted is or may be liable to the cross-claimant for all or part of a claim asserted in the action against the cross-claimant.
(h)Joinder of Additional Parties. Persons other than those made parties to the original action may be made parties to a counterclaim or cross-claim in accordance with the provisions of 19 and 20 TCRCP.
(i)Separate Trials; Separate Judgments. If the court orders separate trials as provided in 42 TCRCP, judgment on a counterclaim or cross-claim may be rendered in accordance with the terms of 54(b) TCRCP when the court has jurisdiction so to do, even if the claims of the opposing party have been dismissed or otherwise disposed of.
(a)When Defendant May Bring in Third Party. At any time after commencement of the action a defending party, as a third-party plaintiff, may cause a summons and complaint to be served upon a person not a party to the action who is or may be liable to him for all or part of the plaintiff's claim against him. The third-party plaintiff need not obtain leave to make the service if he files the third-party complaint not later than 10 days after he serves his original answer. Otherwise he must obtain leave on motion upon notice to all parties to the action. The person served with the summons and third-party complaint, hereinafter called the third-party defendant, shall make his defense to the third-party plaintiff's claim as provided in 12 TCRCP and his counterclaims against the third-party plaintiff and cross-claims against other third-party defendants as provided in 13 TCRCP. The third-party defendant may assert against the plaintiff any defenses which the third-party plaintiff has to the plaintiff's claim. The third-party defendant may also assert any claim against the plaintiff arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the plaintiff's claim against the third-party plaintiff. The plaintiff may assert any claim against the third-party defendant arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the plaintiff's claim against the third-party plaintiff, and the third-party defendant thereupon shall assert his defenses as provided in 12 TCRCP and his counterclaims and cross-claims as provided in 13 TCRCP. Any party may move to strike the third-party claim, or for its severance or separate trial. A third-party defendant may proceed under this rule against any person not a party to the action who is or may be liable to him for all or part of the claim made in the action against the third-party defendant. The third-party complaint, if within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, may be in rem against a vessel, cargo, or other property subject to admiralty or maritime process in rem, in which case references in this rule to the summons include the warrant of arrest, and references to the third-party plaintiff or defendant include, where appropriate, the claimant of the property arrested.
(b)When Plaintiff May Bring in Third Party. When a counter-claim is asserted against a plaintiff, he may cause a third party to be brought in under circumstances which under this rule would entitle a defendant to do so.
(c) Admiralty and Maritime Claims. When a plaintiff asserts an admiralty or maritime claim within the meaning of 9(h) TCRCP the defendant or claimant, as a third-party plaintiff, may bring in a third-party defendant who may be wholly or partly liable, either to the plaintiff or to the third-party plaintiff, by way of remedy over, contribution, or otherwise on account of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences. In such a case the third-party plaintiff may also demand judgment against the third-party defendant in favor of the plaintiff, in which event the third party defendant shall make his defenses to claim of the plaintiff as well as to that of the third-party plaintiff in the manner provided in 12 TCRCP and the action shall proceed as if the plaintiff had commenced in against the third-party defendant as well as the third-party plaintiff.
(a)Amendments. A party may amend his pleadings as a matter of course at any time before a responsive pleading is served or, if the pleading is one to which no responsive pleading is permitted and the action has not been placed upon the trial calendar, he may so amend it at any time within 20 days after it is served. Otherwise a party may amend his pleading only by leave of court or by written consent of the adverse party; and leave shall be freely given when justice so requires. A party shall plead in response to an amended pleading within the time remaining for response to the original pleading or within 10 days after service of the amended pleading, whichever period may be the longer, unless the court otherwise orders.
(b)Amendments to Conform to the Evidence. When issues not raised by the pleadings are tried by express or implied consent of the parties, they shall be treated in all respects as if they had been raised in the pleadings. Such amendment of the pleadings as maybe necessary to cause them to conform to the evidence and to raise these issues may be made upon motion of any party at any time, even after judgment; but failure so to amend does not affect the result of the trial of these issues. If evidence is objected to at the trial on the ground that it is not within the issues made by the pleadings, the court may allow the pleadings to be amended and shall do so freely when the presentation of the merits of the action will be subserved thereby and the objecting party fails to satisfy the court that the admission of such evidence would prejudice him in maintaining his action or defense upon the merits. The court may grant a continuance of enable the objecting party to meet such evidence.
(c)Relation Back or Amendments. Whenever the claim or defense asserted in the amended pleading arose out of the conduct, transaction, or occurrence set forth or attempted to be set forth in the original pleading, the amendment relates back to date of the original pleading. An amendment changing the party against whom a claim is asserted relates back if the foregoing provision is satisfied and, within the period provided by law for commencing the action against him, the party to be brought in by amendment (1) has received such notice of the institution of the action that he will not be prejudiced in maintaining his defense on the merits, and (2) knew or should have known that, but for a mistake concerning the identity of the proper party, the action would have been brought against him.
The delivery or mailing or process to the United States Attorney, or his designee, or the Attorney General of the United States, or an agency or officer who would have been a proper defendant if named, satisfied the requirement of clauses (1) and (2) hereof with respect to the United States or any agency or officer thereof to be brought in to action as a defendant.
(d)Supplemental Pleadings. Upon motion of a party the court may, upon reasonable notice and upon such terms as are just, permit him to serve a supplemental pleading setting forth transactions or occurrences or events which have happened since the date of the pleading sought to be supplemented. Permission may be granted even though the original pleading is defective in its statement of a claim for relief or defense. If the court deems it advisable that the adverse party plead to the supplemental pleading, it shall so order, specifying the time therefor.
In any action, the court may in its discretion direct the attorneys for the parties to appear before it for a conference to consider
(1)The simplification of the issues;
(2)The necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings;
(3)The possibility of obtaining admissions of fact and of documents which will avoid unnecessary proof;
(4)The limitation of the number of expert witnesses;
(5)The advisability of a preliminary reference of issues to a master for findings to be used as evidence when the trial is to be by jury;
(6) Such other matters as may aid in the disposition of the action.
The court shall make an order which recites the action taken at the conference, the amendments allowed to the pleading, and the agreements made by the parties as to any of the matters considered, and which limits the issues for trial to those not disposed of by admissions or agreements of counsels; and such order when entered controls the subsequent course of the action, unless modified at the trial to prevent manifest injustice. The court in its discretion may establish by rule a pre-trial calendar on which actions may be placed for consideration as above provided and may either confine the calendar to jury actions or to non-jury actions or extend it to all actions.
(a)Real Party in Interest. Every action shall be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest. As an executor, administrator, guardian, bailee, trustee of an express trust, a party with whom in whose name a contract has been made for the benefit of another, or a party authorized by statute may sue in his own name without joining with him the party for whose benefit the action is brought; and when a statute of American Samoa so provides, an action for the use of benefit of another shall be brought in the name of the American Samoa Government.
No action shall be dismissed on the ground that it is not prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest until a reasonable time has been allowed after objection for ratification of commencement of the action, or joinder or substitution of, the real party in interest; and such ratification, joinder, or substitution of, the real party in interest; and such ratification, joinder, or substitution shall have the same effect as if the action has been commenced in the name of the real party in interest.
(c)Infants of Incompetent Persons. Whenever an infant or incompetent person has a representative, such as general guardian,committee, conservator, or other like fiduciary, the representative may sue or defend on behalf of the infant or incompetent person. If an infant or incompetent person does not have a duly appointed representative he may sue by his next friend or by a guardian ad litem. The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for an infant or incompetent person not otherwise represented in an action or shall make such other order as it deems proper for the protection of the infant or incompetent person.
(a)Joinder of Claims. A party seeking a claim to relief as an original claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, may join, either as independent or as alternate claims, as many claims, legal, equitable, or maritime, as he has against an opposing party.
(b)Joinder of Remedies; Fraudulent Conveyances. Whenever a claim is one heretofore cognizable only after another claim has been prosecuted to a conclusion, the two claims may be joined in a single action; but the court shall grant relief in that action only in accordance with the relative substantive rights of the parties. In particular, a plaintiff my state a claim for money and a claim to have set aside a conveyance fraudulent as to him, without first having obtained a judgment establishing the claim for money.
(a)Persons to be Joined if Feasible. A person who is subject to service of process and whose joinder will not deprive the court of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action shall be joined as a party in the action if (1) in his absence complete relief cannot be accorded among those already parties, or (2) he claims an interest relating to the subject of the action and is so situated that the disposition of the action in his absence may (i) as a practical matter impair or impede his ability to protect that interest or (ii) leave any of the persons already parties subject to a substantial risk of incurring double, multiple, or otherwise inconsistent obligations by reason of his claimed interest. If he has not been so joined, the court shall order that he be made a party. If he should join as a plaintiff but refuses to do so, he may be made a defendant, or, in a proper case, an involuntary plaintiff. If the joined party objects to venue and his joinder would render the venue of the action improper, he shall be dismissed from the action.
(b)Determination by Court Whenever Joinder not Feasible. If a person as described in subdivision (a)(1)-(2) hereof cannot be made a party, the court shall determine whether in equity and good conscience the action should among the parties before it, or should be dismissed, the absent person being thus regarded as indispensable. The factors to be considered by the court include; first, to what extent a judgment rendered in the person's absence might be prejudicial to him or those already parties; second, the extent to which, by protective provisions in the judgment, by the shaping of relief, or other measures, the prejudice can be lessened or avoided; third, whether a judgment rendered in the person's absence will be adequate; fourth, whether the plaintiff will have an adequate remedy if the action is dismissed for nonjoinder.
(c)Pleading Reasons for Nonjoinder. A pleading asserting a claim for relief shall state the names, if know to the pleader, of any persons as described in subdivision (a)(1)-(2) hereof who are not joined, and the reasons why they are not joined.
(d)Exception of Class Actions. This rule is subject to the provisions of 23 TCRCP.
(a)Permissive Joinder. All persons may join in one action as plaintiffs if they assert any right to relief jointly, severally, or in the alternative in respect of or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences and if any question of law or fact common to all these persons will arise in the action. All persons (and any vessel, cargo or other property subject to admiralty process in rem) may be joined in one action as defendants if there is asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the alternative, any right to belief in respect of or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences and if any question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action. A plaintiff or defendant need not be interested in obtaining or defending against all the relief demanded. Judgment may be given for one or more of the plaintiffs according to their respective rights to relief, and against one or more defendants according to their respective liabilities.
(b)Separate Trials. The court may make such order as will prevent a party from being embraced, delayed, or put to expense by the inclusion of a party against whom he asserts no claim and who asserts no claim against him, and may order separate trials or make other orders to prevent delay or prejudice.
Misjoinder of parties is not ground for dismissal or an action. Parties may be dropped or added by order of the court on motion of any party or on its own initiative at any stage of the action and on such terms as are just. Any claim against a party may be severed and proceed with separately.
(1)Persons having claims against the plaintiff may be joined as defendants and required to interplead when their claims are such that the plaintiff is or may be exposed to double or multiple liability. It is not ground for objection to the joinder that the claims of the several claimants or the titles on which their claims depend do not have a common origin or are not identical are adverse to and independent of one another, or that the plaintiff averse that he is not liable in whole or in part to any or all of the claimants. A defendant exposed to similar liability may obtain such interpleader by way of cross-claim or counterclaim. The provisions of this rule supplement and do not in any way limit the joinder of parties permitted in Rule.20.
(a)Prerequisites to a Class Action. One or more members of a class may sue or be sued as representative parties on behalf of all only if (1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable, (2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class, (3) the claim or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defense of the class, and (4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interest of the class.
(b)Class Action Maintainable. An action may be maintained as a class action if the prerequisites of subdivision (a) are satisfied, and in addition:
(1) The prosecution of separate actions by or against individual members of the class would create a risk of:
(A) inconsistent or varying adjudications with respect to individual members of the class which would establish incompatible standards of conduct for the party opposing the class, or
(B) adjudications with respect to individual members of the class which would as a practical matter be dispositive of the interests of the other members not parties to the adjudications or substantially impair or impede their ability to protect their interest; or
(2) the party opposing the class has acted or refused to act on grounds generally applicable to the class, thereby making appropriate final injunctive relief or corresponding declaratory relief with respect to the class as a whole; or
(3) the court finds that the questions of law or fact common to the members of the class predominate over any question affecting only individual members, and that a class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy. The matters pertinent to the findings include: (A) the interest of members of the class in individual controlling the prosecution or defense of separate actions; (B) the extent and nature of any litigation concerning the controversy already commenced by or against members of the class; (C) the desirability or undesirability of concentrating the litigation of the claims in the particular forum; (D) the difficulties likely to be encountered in the management of a class action.
(c)Determination by Order Whether Class Action to be Maintained; Notice; Actions Conducted Partially as Class Actions.
(1) As soon as practicable after the commencement of an action brought as a class action, the court shall determine by order whether it is to be so maintained. An order under this subdivision may be conditional, and may be altered or amended before the decision on the merits.
(2) In any class action maintained under subdivision (b)(3), the court shall direct to the members of the class the best notice to all members who can be identified through reasonable effort. The notice shall advise each member that (A) the court will exclude him from the class if he so requests by a specified date; (B) the judgment, whether favorable or not will include all member s who do not request exclusion; and (C) any member who does not request exclusion may, if he desires, enter an appearance through his counsel.
(3) The judgment in an action maintained as a class action under subdivision (b)(1) or (b)(2), whether or not favorable to the class, shall include and describe those whom the court finds to be members of the class. The judgment in an action maintained as a class action under subdivision (b)(3), whether or not favorable to the class, shall include and specify or describe those to whom the notice provided in subdivision (c)(2) was directed, and who have not requested exclusion, and whom the court finds to be members of the class.
(4) When appropriate (A) an action may be brought or maintained as a class action with respect to particular issues, or (B) a class may be divided into subclasses and each subclass treated as a class, and the provisions of this rule shall then be construed and applied accordingly.
(d)Orders in Conduct of Actions. In the conduct of actions to which this rule applies, the court may make appropriate orders;
(1) determining the course of proceedings or prescribing measures to prevent undue repetition or complication in the presentation of evidence or argument;
(2) requiring, for the protection of the members of the class or otherwise for the fair conduct of the action, the notice be given in such manner as the court may direct to some or all of the members of any step in the action or of the proposed extent of the judgment, or of the opportunity of members to signify whether they consider the representation fair and adequate, to intervene and present claims or defenses, or otherwise to come into the action; opposing conditions on the representative parties or on intervenors;
(4) requiring that the pleadings be amended to elimate therefrom allegations as to representation of absent persons, and that the action proceed accordingly;
(5) dealing with similar procedural matters. The order may be combined with an order under 16 TCRCP, and may be altered or amended as may be desirable from time to time.
(e)Dismissal or Compromise. A class action shall not be dismissed or compromised without the approval of the court, and notice of the proposed dismissal or compromise shall be given to all members of the class in such manner as the court directs.
In a derivative action brought by one or more shareholders or members to enforce a right of a corporation or of an unincorporated association, the corporation of association having failed to enforce a right which may properly be asserted by it, the complaint shall be verified and shall allege (1) that the plaintiff was a shareholder or member at the time of the transaction of which he complains or that his share or membership thereafter devolved on him by operation of law, and (2) that the action is not a collusive one to confer jurisdiction on a court of American Samoa which it would not otherwise have. The complaint shall also allege with particularity the efforts, if any, made by the plaintiff to obtain the action he desires from the directors or comparable authority and, if necessary, from the shareholders or members, and the reasons for his failure to obtain the action or for not making the effort. The derivative action may not be maintained if it appears that the plaintiff does not fairly and adequately represent the interest of the shareholders or members similarly situated in enforcing the right of the corporation or association. The action shall not be dismissed or compromised without the approval of the court, and notice of the proposed dismissal or compromise shall be given to shareholders or members in such manner as the court directs.
An action brought by or against the members of an unincorporated association as a class by naming certain members as representative parties may be maintained only if it appears that the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the association and its members. In the conduct of the action the court may make appropriate orders corresponding with those described in 23(d) TCRCP, and the procedure for dismissal or compromise of the action shall correspond with that provided in 23(e) TCRCP.
(a)Intervention of Right. Upon timely application anyone shall be permitted to intervene in an action:
(1) when a statute of American Samoa confers an unconditional right to intervene; or
(2) when the applicant claims an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action and he is so situated that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede his ability to protect that interest, unless the applicant's interest is adequately represented by existing parties.
(b)Permissive Intervention. Upon timely application anyone may be permitted to intervene in an action: (1) when a statute of American Samoa confers a conditional right to intervene; or (2) when an applicant's claim or defense and the main action have a question of law or fact in common. When a party to an action relies for ground of claim or defense upon any statute or executive order administered by an officer or agency of the American Samoa Government or upon any regulation, order, requirement or agreement issued or made pursuant to the statute or executive order, the officer or agency upon timely application may be permitted to intervene in the action. In exercising its discretion the court shall consider whether the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties.
(c)Procedure. A person desiring to intervene shall serve a motion intervene upon the parties as provided in 5 TCRCP. The motion shall state the grounds therefor and shall be accompanied by a pleading setting forth the claim or defense for which intervention is sought. The same procedure shall be followed when a statute of American Samoa gives the right to intervene. When the constitutionality of an act of the Fono of American Samoa affecting the public interest is drawn in question in any action to which the American Samoa Government or an officer, agency, or employee thereof is not a party, the court shall notify the Attorney General of American Samoa.
(1) If a party dies and the claim is not thereby extinguished, the court may order substitution of the proper parties. The motion for substitution may be made by any party or by the successors or representatives of the deceased party and, together with the notice of hearing, shall be served on the parties as provided in 5 TCRCP and upon persons not parties as in the manner provided in 4 TCRCP for the service of a summons. Unless the motion for substitution is made not later than 90 days after the death is suggested upon the record by service of a statement of the fact of the death as provided herein for the service of the motion, the action shall be dismissed as to the deceased party.
(2) In the event of the death of one or more of the plaintiffs or of one or more of the defendants in an action in which the right sought to be enforce survives only to the surviving plaintiffs or only against the surviving defendants, the actions does not abate. The death shall be suggested upon the record and the action shall proceed in favor of or against the surviving parties.
(b)Incompetency. If a party becomes incompetent, the court allow the action to be continued by or against his representative.
(c)Transfer of Interest. In case of any transfer of interest, the action may be continued by or against the original party, unless the court upon motion directs the person to whom the interest is transferred to be substituted in the action or joined with original party. Service of the motion shall be made as provided in subdivision (a) of this rule.
(d)Public Officers; Death of Separation form Office.
(1)When a public officer is a party to an action in his official capacity and during its pendency dies, resigns, or otherwise ceases to hold office, the action does not abate and his successor is automatically substituted as a party. Proceedings following the substitution shall be in the name of the substituted party, but any misnomer not affecting the substantial rights of the parties shall be disregarded. An order of substitution may be entered at any time, but the omission to enter such an order shall not affect the substitution.
(2) When a public officer sues or is sued in his official capacity, he may be described as a party by his official title rather than by name; but the court may require his name to be added.
(a)Discovery Methods. Parties may obtain discovery by one or more of the following methods: depositions upon oral examination or written questions; written interrogatories; production of documents or things or permission to enter upon land or other property, for inspection and other purposes; physical and mental examinations; and request for admission. Unless the court orders otherwise under subdivision (c) of this rule, the frequency of use of these methods is not limited.
(b)Scope of Discovery. Unless otherwise limited by order of the court in accordance with these rules, the scope of discovery is as follows:
(1) In General. Parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action, whether it relates to the claim or defense of the party seeking discovery or to the claim or defense of any other party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter. It is not ground for objection that the information sought will be in adimissble at the trial if the information sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.
(2) Insurance Agreements. A party may obtain discovery of the existence and contents of any insurance agreement under which any person carrying on an insurance business may be liable to satisfy part or all of a judgment which may be entered in the action or to indemnify or reimburse for payments made to satisfy the judgment. Information concerning the insurance agreement is not be reason of disclosure admissible in evidence at trial. For purposes of this paragraph, an application an insurance agreement.
(3) Trial Preparation: Materials. Subject to the provisions of subdivision (b)(4) of this rule, a party may obtain discovery of documents and tangible things otherwise discoverable under subdivision (b)(1) of this rule and prepared in anticipation of litigation or for trial by or for trial by or for another party or by or for that other party's representative (including his attorney, consultant, surety, indemnitor, insurer, or agent) only upon a showing that the party seeking discovery has substantial need of the materials in the preparation of his case and that he is unable without undue hardship to obtain the substantial equivalent of the material by other means. In ordering discovery of such materials when the required showing has been made, the court shall protect against disclosure of the mental impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal theories of an attorney or other representative of a party concerning the litigation. A party may obtain without the required showing a statement concerning the action or its subject matter previously made by that person. If the request is refused, the person may move for a court order. The provisions of 37(a)(4) TCRCP apply to the award of expenses incurred in relation to the motion. For purposes of this paragraph, a statement previously made is (A) a written statement signed or otherwise adopted or approved by the person making it, or (B) a stenographic, mechanical, electrical, or other recording, or a transcription thereof, which is a substantially verbatim recital of an oral statement by the person making it and contemporaneously recorded.
(4) Trial Preparation: Experts: Discovery of facts known and opinion held by experts, otherwise discoverable under the provisions of subdivision (b)(1) of this rule and acquired or developed in anticipation of litigation or for trial, may be obtained only as follows:
(A) (i) A party may through interrogatories require any other party to identify each person whom the other party expects to call as an expert witness at trial, to state the subject matter on which the expert is expected to testify, and to state the substance of the facts and opinions to which the expert is expected to testify and a summary of the grounds for each opinion. (ii) Upon motion, the court may order further discovery by other means, subject to such restrictions as to scope and such provisions, pursuant to subdivision (b) (4) (C) of this rule, concerning fees and expenses as the court may deem appropriate.
(B) A party may discover facts known or opinions held by an expert who has been retained or specially employed by another party in anticipation of litigation or preparation for trial and who is not expected to be called as a witness at trial, only as provided in 35(b) TCRCP or upon a showing of exceptional circumstances under which it is impracticable for the party seeking discovery to obtain facts or opinions on the same subject by other means.
(C) Unless manifest injustice would result, (i) the court shall require that the party seeking discovery pay the expert a reasonable fee for time spent in responding to discovery under subdivisions (b) (4) (A) (ii) and (b) (4) (B) of this rule, and (ii) with respect to discovery obtained under subdivision (b) (4) (A) (ii) or this rule the court may require, and with respect to discovery obtained under subdivision (b) (4) (B) of this rule the court shall require, the party seeking discovery to pay the other party a fair portion of the fees and expenses reasonably incurred by the later party in obtaining facts and opinions from the expert.
(c)Protective Orders. Upon motion by a party or by the person from whom discovery is sought, and for good cause shown, the court in which the action is pending may make any order which justice requires to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense, including one or more of the following: (1) that the discovery not be had; (2)that the discovery may be had only on specified terms and conditions, including a designation of the time or place; (3) that the discovery may be had only by a method of discovery other than that selected by the party seeking discovery; (4) that certain matters not be inquired into, or that the scope of the discovery be limited to certain matters; (5)that discovery be conducted with not one present except persons designated by the court; (6) that a deposition after being sealed by opened only by order of the court; (7) that a trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information not be disclosed or be disclosed only in a designated way; (8) that the parties simultaneously file specified documents of information enclosed in sealed envelopes to opened as directed by the court.
If the motion for a protective order is denied in whole or in part, the court may, on such terms and conditions as are just, order that any party or person provide or permit discovery. The provisions of 37(a)(4) TCRCP apply to the award of expenses incurred in relation to the motion.
(d)Sequence and Timing of Discovery. Unless the court upon motion, for the convenience of parties and witnesses and in the interests of justice, order otherwise, methods of discovery may be used in any sequence and the fact that a party is conducting discovery, whether by deposition or otherwise, shall not operate to delay any other party's discovery.
(e)Supplementation of Response. A party who has responded to a request for discovery with a response that was complete when made it under no duty to supplement his response to include information thereafter acquired, except as follows:
(1) A party is under a duty seasonably to supplement his response with respect to any question directly addressed to (A) the identity and location of persons having knowledge of discovery matters, and (B) the identity of each person expected to be called as an expert witness at trial, the subject matter on which he is expected to testify, and the substance of his testimony.
(2)A party is under a duty seasonably to amend a prior response if he obtains information upon the basis of which (A) he knows that the response was incorrect when made, or (B) he knows that the response though correct when made is no longer true and the circumstances are such that a failure to amend the response is in substance knowing concealment.
(3)A duty to supplement responses may be imposed by order of the court, agreement of the parties, or at any time prior to trial through new requests for supplementation of prior response.
(f)Discovery Conference. At any time after commencement of an action the court may direct the attorneys for the parties to appear before it for a conference on the subject of discovery. The court shall do so upon motion by the attorney for any party if the motion includes:
(1) A statement of the issues as they then appear;
(2) A proposed plan and schedule of discovery;
(3) Any limitation proposed to be place on discovery. (4) Any other proposed orders with respect to discovery;and
(5) A statement showing that the attorney making the motion has made a reasonable effort to reach agreement with opposing attorneys on the matters set forth in the motion. Each part and his attorney are under a duty to participate in good faith in the framing of a discovery plan if a plan is proposed by the attorney for any party. Notice of the motion shall be served on all parties. Objections or additions to the matters set forth in the motion shall be served not later than 10 days after service of the motion.
Following the discovery conference, the court shall enter an order tentatively identifying the issues for discovery purposes, establishing a plan and schedule for discovery, setting limitations on discovery, if any; and determining such other matters, including the allocation of expenses, as are necessary for the proper management of discovery in the action. An order may be altered or amended whenever justice so requires.
Subject to the right of a party who properly moves for a discovery conference to prompt convening of the conference, the court may combine the discovery conference with a pretrial conference authorized by 16 TCRCP.
(1) Petition. A person who desires to perpetuate his own testimony or that of another person regarding on any matter that that may be cognizable in any court in American Samoa may file a verified petition in the High Court of American Samoa. The petition shall be entitled in the name of the petitioner and shall show: 1), that the petitioner expects to be a party to an action cognizable in a court of American Samoa but is presently unable to bring it or cause it to be brought; 2), the subject matter of the expected action and his interest therein; 3), the facts which he desires to establish by the proposed testimony and his reasons for desiring to perpetuate it; 4), the names or a description of the persons he expects will be adverse parties and their addresses so far as known; and 5), the names and addresses of the persons to be examined and the substance of the testimony which he expects to elicit from each. The petition shall ask for an order authorizing the petitioner to take the depositions of the persons to be examined named in the petition, for the purpose of perpetuating their testimony.
(2) Notice and Service. The petitioner shall thereafter serve a notice upon each person named in the petition as an expected adverse party, together with a copy of the petition, stating that the petitioner will apply to the court, at a time and place named therein, for the order described in the petition. At least 20 days before the date of hearing the notice shall be served either within or without the territory in the manner provided in 4 TCRCP for service of summons; but if such service cannot with due diligence be made upon any expected adverse party named in the petition, the court may make such order as is just for service by publication or otherwise, and shall appoint, for persons not served in the manner provided in 4 TCRCP an attorney who shall represent them, and, in case they are not otherwise represented, shall cross-examine the deponent. If any expected adverse party is a minor or incompetent the provisions of 17(c) TCRCP apply.
(3) Order and Examination. If the court is satisfied that the perpetuation of the testimony may prevent a failure or delay of justice, it shall make an order designating or describing the persons whose depositions may be taken and specifying the subject matter of the examination and whether the depositions shall be taken upon oral examination or written interrogatories. The depositions may then be taken in accordance with these rules; and the court may make orders of the character provided for by 34 and 35 TCRCP.
(4) Use of Deposition. If a deposition to perpetuate testimony is taken under these rules, it may be used in any action involving the same subject matter subsequently brought in any court of American Samoa, in accordance with the provisions of 32(a) TCRCP.
(b)Pending Appeal. If an appeal has been taken from a judgment of the district court, land and titles division, or the trial division of the High Court or before the taking of an appeal if the time therefor has not expired, the court in which the judgment was rendered may allow the taking of the depositions of witnesses to perpetuate their testimony for use in the event of further proceedings in that court. In such case the party who desires to perpetuate the testimony may make a motion in the trial court for leave to take the depositions, upon the same notice and service thereof as if the action was pending in the trial court. The motion shall show (1) the names and addresses of persons to be examined and the substance of the testimony which he expects to elicit from each and (2) the reasons for perpetuating their testimony. If the court finds that the perpetuation of the testimony is proper to avoid a failure or delay of justice, it may make an order allowing the depositions to be taken and may make orders of the character provided for by 34 and 35 TCRCP, and thereupon the depositions may be taken and used in the same manner and under the same conditions as are prescribed in these rules for depositions taken in actions pending in any court of American Samoa.
(c)Perpetuation by Action. This rule does not limit the power of a court to entertain an action to perpetuate testimony.
(a)Within the United States. Within the United States or within a territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, depositions shall be taken before an office authorized to administer oaths by laws of the United States or of the place where the examination is held, or before a person appointed by the court in which the action is pending. A person so appointed has power to administer oaths and take testimony.
(b)In Foreign Countries. In a foreign country, depositions may be taken (1) on notice before a person authorized to administer oaths in the place in which the examination is held, either by the law thereof, or (2) before a person commissioned by the court, and a person so commissioned shall have the power by virtue of his commission to administer any necessary oath and take testimony, or (3) pursuant to a letter rogatory. A commission or a letter rogatory shall be issued on application and notice and on terms that are just and appropriate. It is not requisite to the issuance of a commission or a letter rogatory that the taking of the depositions in any other manner is impracticable or inconvenient; and both a commission and a letter rogatory may be issued in proper cases. A notice or commission may designate the person before whom the deposition is to be taken either by name or descriptive title. A letter rogatory may be addressed "To the Appropriate Authority in (here name the country)." Evidence obtained in response to a letter rogatory need not be excluded merely for the reason that it is not a verbatim transcript or that the testimony was not taken under oath or for any similar departure from the requirements for deposition taken within American Samoa under these rules.
(c)Disqualification for Interest. No deposition shall be taken before a person who is a relative or employee or attorney or counsel of any of the parties, or is a relative or employee of such attorney or counsel, or is financially interested in the action.
Unless the court orders otherwise, the parties may by written stipulation (1) provided that depositions may be taken before any person, at any time or place, upon any notice, and in any manner and when so taken may be used like other depositions, and (2) modify the procedures provided by these rules for other methods of discovery, except that stipulating extending the time provided in 33, 34, and 36 TCRCP for responses to discovery may be made only with the approval of the court.
(a)When Depositions May be Taken. After commencement of the action, any party may take the testimony of any person, including a party, by deposition upon oral examination. Leave of court, granted with or without notice, must be obtained only if the plaintiff seeks to take a deposition prior to the expiration of 30 days after service of the summons and complaint upon any defendant or service made under 4(e) TCRCP except that leave is not required (1) if a defendant has served a notice of taking deposition or otherwise sought discovery, or (2) if special notice is given as provided in subdivision (b) (2) of this rule. The attendance of witnesses may be compelled by subpoena as provided in 45 TCRCP. The deposition of a person confined in prison may be taken only by leave of court on such terms as the court prescribes.
(b)Notice of Examination: General Requirements; Special Notice; Non-Stenographic Recording; Production of Documents and Things; Deposition of Organization.
(1) A party desiring to take the deposition of any person upon oral examination shall give reasonable notice in writing to every other party to the action. The notice shall state the time and place for taking the deposition and the name and address of each person to be examined, if known, and, if the name is not known, a general description sufficient to identify him or the particular class or group to which he belongs. If a subpoena duces tecum is to be served on the person to be examined, the designation of the materials to be produced as set forth in the subpoena shall be attached to or included int he notice.
(2) Leave of court is not required for the taking of a deposition by plaintiff if the notice (A) states that the person to be examined is about to go out of American Samoa, or is bound on a voyage to sea, and will be unavailable for examination unless his deposition is taken before expiration of the 30-day period, and (B) sets forth facts to support the statement. The plaintiff's attorney shall sign the notice, and his signature constitutes a certification by him that to the best of his knowledge, information, and belief the statement and supporting facts are true. The sanctions provided by 11 TCRCP are applicable to the certification. If a party shows that when he was served with notice under this subdivision (b)(2) he was unable through the exercise of diligence to obtain counsel to represent him at the taking of the deposition, the deposition may not be used against him.
(3) The court may for cause shown enlarge or shorten the time for taking the deposition.
(4) The parties may stipulate in writing or the court may upon motion order that the testimony at a deposition be recorded by other than stenographic means. The stipulation or order shall designate the person whom the deposition shall be taken, the manner of recording, preserving and filing the deposition, and may include other provisions to assure that the recorded testimony will be accurate and trustworthy. A party may arrange to have a stenographic transcription made at his own expense. Any objections under subdivision (c), any changes made by the witness, his signature identifying the deposition as his own or the statement of the officer that is required if the witness does not sign, as provided in subdivision (e), and the certification of the officer required by subdivision (f) shall be set forth in a writing to accompany a deposition recorded by a non-steno-graphic means.
(5) The notice to a party deponent may be accompanied by a request made in compliance with 34 TCRCP for the production of documents and tangible things at the taking of the deposition. the procedure of 34 TCRCP shall apply to the request.
(6) A party may in his notice and in a subpoena name as the deponent a public or private corporation or a partnership or association or governmental agency and describe with reasonable particularity the matters on which examination is requested. In that event, the organization so named shall designate one or more officers, directors, or managing agents, or other persons who consent to testify on its behalf, and may set forth, for each person designated, the matters on which he will testify. A subpoena shall advise a non-party organization of its duty to make such designation. The persons so designated shall testify as to matters known or reasonably available to the organization. This subdivision (b)(6) does not preclude taking a deposition by any other procedure authorized in these rules.
(7) The parties may stipulate in writing or the court may upon motion order that a deposition be taken by telephone.
(c)Examination and Cross-Examination; Record or Examination; Oath; Objections. Examination and cross-examination or witnesses may proceed as permitted at the trial under the provisions of the American Samoa rules of Evidence. The officer before whom the deposition is to be taken shall put the witness on oath and shall personally, or by someone acting under his direction and in his presence, record the testimony of the witness. The testimony shall be taken stenographically or recorded by any other means ordered in accordance with subdivision (b)(4) of this rule. If requested by one of the parties, the testimony shall be transcribed. All objections made at the time of the examination to the qualification of the officer taking the deposition, or to the manner of taking it, or to the evidence presented, or to the conduct of any party, and any other objection to the proceeding's shall be noted by the officer upon the deposition. Evidence objected to shall be taken subject to the objections. In lieu of participating in the oral examination, parties may serve written questions in a sealed envelope on the party taking the deposition and he shall transmit them to the officer, who shall propound them to the witness and record the answers verbatim.
(d)Motion to Terminate or Limit Examination. At any time during the taking of the deposition, on motion of a party or of the deponent and upon a showing that the examination is being conducted in bad faith or in such manner as unreasonably to annoy, embarrass, or oppress the deponent or party, the court in which the action is pending may order the officer conducting the examination to cease forthwith from taking the deposition or may limit the scope and manner of the taking of the deposition as provided in 26(c) TCRCP. If the order made terminates the examination, it shall be resumed thereafter only upon the order of the court in which the action is pending. Upon demand of the objecting party or deponent, the taking of the deposition shall be suspended for the time necessary to make a motion for an order. The provision of 37(a)(4) TCRCP apply to the award of expenses incurred in relation to the motion.
(e)Submission to Witness; Changes; Signing. When the testimony is fully transcribed the deposition shall be submitted to the witness for examination and shall be read to or by him, unless such examination and reading are waived by the witness desires to make shall be entered upon the deposition by the officer with a statement of the reasons given by the witness for making them. The deposition shall then be signed by the witness, unless the parties by stipulation waive the signing or the witness is ill or cannot be found or refuses to sign. If the deposition is not signed by the witness within 30 days of its submission to him, the fact of the waiver or of the illness or absence of the witness or the fact of the refusal to sign together with the reason, if any, given therefor; and the deposition may then be used as fully as though signed unless on a motion to suppress under 32(d)(4) TCRCP the court holds that the reasons given for the refusal to sign require rejection of the deposition in whole or in part.
(f)Certification and Filing by Officer; Exhibits; Copies; Notice of Filing.
(1) The officer shall certify on the deposition that the witness was duly sworn by him and that the deposition is a true record of the testimony given by the witness. He shall then securely seal the deposition in an envelope indorsed with the title of the action and marked "Deposition of [here insert name of witness]" and shall promptly file it with the court in which the action is pending or send it by registered or certified mail to the clerk thereof for filing. Documents and things produced for inspection during examination of the witness, shall, upon the request of a party, be marked for identification and annexed to and returned with the deposition, and may be inspected and copied by any party, except that (A) the person producing the materials may substitute copies to be marked for identification, if he affords to all parties fair opportunity to verify the copies by comparison with the originals, and (B) if their person producing the materials requests their return, the officer shall mark them, give each party an opportunity to inspect and copy them, and return them to the person producing them, and the materials may then be used in the same manner as if annexed to and returned with the deposition. Any party may move for an order that the original be annexed to and returned with the deposition to the court, pending final disposition of the case.
(2) Upon payment of reasonable charges therefor, the officer shall furnish a copy of the deposition to any party or to the deponent.
(3) The party taking the deposition shall give prompt notice of its filing to all other parties.
(g)Failure to Attend or to Serve Subpoena; Expenses.
(1) If the party giving the notice of the taking of a deposition fails to attend and proceed therewith and another party attends in person or by attorney pursuant to the notice, the court may order the party giving the notice to pay to such other party the reasonable expenses incurred by him and his attorney in attending, including reasonable attorney's fees.
(2) If the party giving the notice of the taking of a deposition of a witness fails to serve a subpoena upon him and the witness because of such failure does not not attend, and if another party attends in person or by attorney because he expects the deposition of that witness to be taken, the court may order the party giving the notice to pay to such other party the reasonable expenses incurred by him and his attorney in attending, including reasonable attorney's fees.
(a)Serving Questions; Notice. After commencement of the action, any party may take the testimony of any person, including a party, by deposition upon written questions. The attendance of witnesses may be compelled by the use of subpoena as provided in 45 TCRCP. The deposition of a person confined in prison may be taken only by leave of court on such terms as the court prescribes.
A party desiring to take a deposition upon written questions shall serve them upon every other party with a notice stating (1) the name and address of the person who is to answer them, if known, and if the name is not known, a general description sufficient to identify him or the particular class or group to which he belongs, and (2) the name of descriptive title and address of the officer before whom the deposition is to be taken. A deposition upon written questions may be taken of a public or private corporation or a partnership or association or governmental agency in accordance with the provisions of 30(b)(6) TCRCP.
Within 30 days after the notice and written questions are served, a party may serve cross questions upon all other parties. Within 10 days after being served with cross questions, a party may serve redirect questions upon all other parties. Within 10 days after being served with redirect questions, a party may serve recross questions upon all other parties. The court may for cause shown enlarge or shorten the time.
(b)Officer to Take Responses and Prepare Record. A copy of the notice and copies of all questions served shall be delivered by the party taking the deposition to the officer designated in the notice, who shall proceed promptly, in the manner provided by 30(c), (e) and (f) TCRCP to take the testimony of the witness in response to the questions and to prepare, certify, and file or mail the deposition, attaching thereto the copy of the notice and the questions received by him.
(c)Notice of Filing. When the deposition is filed the party taking it shall promptly give notice thereof to all other parties.
(a) Use of Depositions. At the trial or upon the hearing of a motion or an interlocutory proceeding, any part or all of a deposition, so far as admissible under the rules of evidence applied as though the witness were then present and testifying, may be used against any party who was present or represented at the taking of the deposition or who had reasonable notice thereof, in accordance with any of the following provisions:
(1) Any deposition may be used by any party for the purpose of contradicting or impeaching the testimony of deponent as a witness.
(2) The deposition of a party or of anyone who at the time of taking the deposition was an officer, director, or managing agent, or a person designated under 30 (b) (6) or 31(a) TCRCP to testify on behalf of a public or private corporation, partnership or association or governmental agency which is a party may be used by an adverse party for any purpose.
(3) The deposition of a witness, whether or not a party, may be used by any party for any purpose if the court finds: (A) that the witness is dead; or (B) that the witness is out of American Samoa, unless it appears that the absence of the witness was procured by the party offering the deposition; or (C) that the witness is unable to attend or testify because of age, illness, infirmity, or imprisonment; or (D) that the party offering the deposition has been unable to procure the attendance of the witness by subpoena; or (E) upon application and notice, that such exceptional circumstances exist as to make it desirable, in the interest of justice and with due regard to the importance of presenting the testimony of witnesses orally in open court, to allow the deposition to be used.
(4) If only part of a deposition is offered in evidence by a party, an adverse party may require him to introduce any other part which ought in fairness to be considered with the part introduced, and any party may introduce any other parts. Substitution of parties pursuant to 25 TCRCP does not affect the right to use depositions previously taken; and, when an action in any court of the United States or American Samoa or of any State has been dismissed and another action involving the same subject matter is afterward brought between the same parties or their representatives or successors in interest, all depositions lawfully taken and duly filed in the former action may be used in the latter as if originally taken therefor.
(b) Objections to Admissibility. Subject to the provisions of 28 TCRCP and subdivision (d)(3) of this rule objection may be made at the trial or hearing to receiving in evidence any deposition or part thereof for any reason which would require the exclusion of the evidence if the witness were then present and testifying.
(d)Effect of Errors and Irregularities in Depositions.
(1) As to notice. All errors and irregularities in the notice for taking a deposition are waived unless written objection is promptly served upon the party giving the notice.
(2) As to Disqualification of Officer. Objection to taking a deposition because of disqualification of the officer before whom it is to be taken is waived unless made before the taking of the deposition begins or as soon thereafter as the disqualification becomes known or could be discovered with reasonable diligence.
(3) As to taking of deposition.
(A) Objections to the competency of a witness or to the competency, relevancy, or materiality of testimony are not waived by failure to make them before or during the taking of the deposition, unless the ground of the objection is one which might have been obviated or removed if presented at that time.
(B) Errors and irregularities occurring at the oral examination in the manner of taking the deposition, in the form of the questions or answers, in the oath or affirmation, or in the conduct of parties, and errors of any kind which might be obviated, removed, or cured if promptly presented, are waived unless seasonable objection thereto is made at the taking of the deposition.
(C) Objections to the form of written questions submitted under Rule 31 are waived unless served in writing upon the party propounding them with in the time allowed for serving the succeeding cross or other questions and within 5 days after service of the last questions authorized.
(4) As to Completion and Return of Deposition. Errors and irregularities in the manner in which the testimony is transcribed or the deposition is prepared, signed, certified, sealed, indorsed, transmitted, filed, or otherwise dealt with by the officer under 30 and 31 TCRCP agree waived unless a motion to suppress the deposition or some part thereof is made with reasonable promptness after such defect is, or with due diligence might have been, ascertained.
(a)Availability; Procedures for Use. Any party may serve upon any other party written interrogatories to be answered by the party served or, if the party served is a public or private corporation or a partnership or association or government agency, by any officer or agent, who shall furnish such information as is available to the party. Interrogatories may, without leave of court, be served upon the plaintiff after commencement of the action and upon any other party with or after service of the summons and complaint upon that party.
Each interrogatory shall be answered separately and fully in writing under oath, unless it is objected to; in which event the reasons for objection shall be stated in lieu of an answer. The answer are to be signed by the person making them, and the objections signed by the attorney making them. The party upon whom the interrogatories have been served shall serve a copy of the answers, and objections if any, within 30 days after the service of the interrogatories, except that a defendant may serve answers of objections within 45 days after service of the summons and complaint upon that defendant. The court may allow a shorter or longer time. The party submitting the interrogatories may move for an order under 37(a) TCRCP with respect to any objection to or other failure to answer an interrogatory.
(b)Scope; Use at Trial. Interrogatories may relate to any matters which can be inquired into under 26(b) TCRCP and the answer may be used to the extent permitted by the American Samoa Rules of Evidence.
An interrogatory otherwise proper is not necessarily objectionable merely because an answer to the interrogatory involves an opinion or contention that relates to fact or the application of law to fact, but the court may order that such an interrogatory need not be answered until after designated discovery has been completed or until a pre-trial conference or other later time.
(c)Option to Produce Business Records. Where the answer to an interrogatory may be derived or ascertained from the business records of the party upon whom the interrogatory has been served or from an examination, audit or inspection of such business records, or from a compilation, abstract or summary based thereon, and the burden of deriving or ascertaining the answer is substantially the same for the party serving the interrogatory as for the party served, it is a sufficient answer to such interrogatory to specify the records form which the answer may be derived or ascertained and to afford to the party serving the interrogatory reasonable opportunity to examine, audit or inspect such records and to make copies, compilations, abstracts or summaries. A specification shall be in sufficient detail to permit the interrogating party to locate and to identify, as can the party served, the records from which the answer may be ascertained.
(a) Scope. Any party may serve on any other part a request (1) to produce and permit the party making the request, or someone action on his behalf, to inspect and copy, any designated documents (including writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, phono-records, and other data compilations from which information can be obtained, if necessary, by the respondent through detection devices into reasonably usable form), or to inspect and copy, test, or sample any tangible things which constitute or contain matters within the scope of 26(c) TCRCP and which are in the possession, custody or control of the party upon designated land or other property in the possession or control of the party upon whom the request is served for the purpose of inspection and measuring, surveying, photographing, testing, or sampling the property or any designated object or operation thereon, within the scope of 26(c) TCRCP.
(b)Procedure. The request may, without leave of court, be served upon the plaintiff after service of the summons and complaint upon that party. the request shall set forth the items to be inspected either by individual item or by category, and describe each item and category with reasonable particularity. The request shall specify a reasonable time, place, and manner of making the inspection and performing the related acts. The party upon whom the request is served shall serve a written response within 30 days after the service of the request, except that a defendant may serve a response within 45 days after service of the summons and complaint upon the defendant. The court may allow a shorter or longer time. The response shall state, with respect to each item or category, that inspection and related activities will be permitted as requested, unless the request is objected to, in which event the reasons for objection shall be stated. If objection is made to part of an item or category, the part shall be specified. The party submitting the request may move for an order under 37(a) TCRCP with respect to any objection to or other failure to respond to the request or any part thereof, or any failure to permit inspection as requested. A party who produces documents for inspection shall produce them as they are kept in the usual course of business or shall organize and label them to correspond with the categories in the request.
(c)Person Not Parties. This rule does not preclude an independent action against a person not a party for production of documents and things and permission to enter upon land.
(a)Order of Examination. When the mental or physical condition (including the blood group) of a party, or of a person in the custody or under the legal control of a party, is in controversy, the court in which the action is pending may order the party to submit to a physical or mental examination by a physician or to produce for examination the person in his custody or legal control. The order may be made only on motion for good cause shown and upon notice to the person to be examined and to all parties and shall specify the time, place, manner, conditions, and scope of the examination and the person or persons by whom it is to be made.
(b)Report of Examining Physician.
(1) If requested by the party against whom an order is made under 35(a) TCRCP or the person examined, the party causing the examination to be made shall deliver to him a copy of a detailed written report of the examining physician setting out his findings, including results of all tests made, diagnoses and conclusions, together with like reports of all earlier examinations of the same condition. After delivery the party causing the examination shall be entitled upon request to receive from the party against whom the order is made a like report of any examination, previously or thereafter made, of the same condition, unless, in the case or a report of examination of a person not a party, the party shows that he is unable to obtain it. The court on motion may make an order against a party requiring delivery of a report on such terms as are just, and if a physical fails or refuses to make a report the court may exclude his testimony if offered at the trial.
(2) By requesting and obtaining a report of the examination so ordered or by taking the deposition of the examiner, the party examined waives any privilege he may have in that action or any other involving the same controversy, regarding the testimony of every other person who has examined or may thereafter examine him in respect of the same mental or physical condition.
(3) This subdivision applies to examinations made by agreement of the parties, unless the agreement expressly provides otherwise. The subdivision does not preclude discovery of a report of an examining physician or the taking of a deposition of the physician in accordance with the provisions of any other rule.
(a)Request for Admission. A party may serve upon any other party a written request for the admission, for purposes of the pending action only, of the truth of any matters within the scope of 26(b) TCRCP set forth in the request that relate to statements or opinions of fact or of the application of law to fact, including the genuineness of any documents described in the request. copies of documents shall be served with the request unless they have been or are otherwise furnished or made available for inspection and copying. The request may, without leave of court, be served upon the plaintiff after commencement of the action and upon any other party with or after service of the summons and complaint upon that party.
Each matter of which an admission is requested shall be separately set forth. The matter is admitted unless, within 30 days after service of the request, or within such shorter or longer time as the court may allow, the party to whom the request is directed serves upon the party requesting the admission a written answer or objection addressed to the matter, signed by the party or by his attorney, but, unless the court shortens the time, a defendant shall not be required to serve answers or objections before the expiration of 45 days after service of the summons and complaint upon. If objections made, the reasons therefor shall be stated. The answer shall specifically deny the matter or set forth in detail the reasons why the answering party cannot truthfully admit or deny the matter. A denial shall fairly meet the substance of the requested admission, and when good faith requires that a party qualify his answer or deny only a part of the matter or which an admission is requested, he shall specify so much of it as is true and qualify or deny the remainder. An answering party may not give lack of information or knowledge as a reason for failure to admit or deny unless he states that he has made reasonable inquiry and that the information known or readily obtainable by him is insufficient to enable him to admit or deny. A party who considers that a matter of which an admission has been requested presents a genuine issue for trial may not, on that ground alone, object to the request; he may, subject to the provisions of 37(c) TCRCP, deny the matter or set forth reasons why he cannot admit or deny it.
The party who has requested the admission may move to determine the sufficiency of the answers or objections. Unless the court determines that an objection is justified, it shall order that an answer be served. If the court determines that an answer does not comply with the requirements of this rule, it may order either that the matter is admitted or that an amended answer be served. The court may, in lieu of these orders, determine that final disposition of the request be made at a pre-trial conference or at a designated time prior to trial. The provisions of 37(a) TCRCP apply to the award of expenses incurred in relation to the motion.
(b)Effect of Admission. Any matter admitted under this rule is conclusively established unless the court on motion permits withdrawal or amendment of the admission. Subject to the provisions of 16 TCRCP governing amendment of a pre-trial order, the court may permit withdrawal or amendment when the presentation of the merits of the action will be subserved thereby and the party who obtained the admission fails to satisfy the court that withdrawal or amendment will prejudice him in maintaining his action or defense on the merits. Any admission made by a party under this rule is for the purpose of the pending action only is not an admission by him for any other purpose nor may it be used against him in any other proceeding.
(a)Motion or Order Compelling Discovery. A party, upon reasonable notice to other parties and all persons affected thereby, may apply for an order compelling discovery as follows.
(1) Appropriate Court. An application for an order to a party or a deponent who is not a party shall be made to the court in which the action is pending.
(2) Motion. If a deponent fails to answer a question propounded or submitted under Rules 30 or 31, or a corporation or other entity fails to make a designation under 30(a)(6) or 31(a) TCRCP, or a party fails to answer an interrogatory submitted under 33 TCRCP, or if a party, in response to a request for inspection submitted under 34 TCRCP, fails to respond that inspection will be permitted as requested, the discovering party may move for an order compelling an answer or designation, or an order compelling inspection in accordance with the request. When taking a deposition on oral examination, the proponent of the question may complete or adjourn the examination before he applies for an order.
If the court denies the motion in whole or in part, it may make such protective order as it would have been empowered to make on a motion made pursuant to 26(c) TCRCP.
(3)Evasive or Incomplete Answer. For purposes of this subdivision an evasive or incomplete answer is to be treated as a failure to answer.
(4)Award of Expenses of Motion. If the motion is granted, the court shall, after opportunity for hearing, require the party or deponent whose conduct necessitated the motion or the party or attorney advising such conduct or both of them to pay to the moving party the reasonable expenses incurred in obtaining the order, including attorney's fees, unless the court finds that the opposition to the motion was substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.
If the motion is denied, the court shall, after opportunity for hearing, require the moving party or the attorney advising the motion or both of them to pay to the party or deponent who opposed the motion the reasonable expenses incurred in opposing the motion, including attorney's fees, unless the court finds that the making of the motion was substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.
If the motion is granted in part, the court may apportion the reasonable expenses incurred in relation to the motion among the parties and persons in a just manner.
(b)Failure to Comply with Order.
(1) Sanctions by Court in District Where Deposition is Taken. If a deponent fails to be sworn or to answer a question after being direct to do so by the court, the failure may be considered a contempt of court.
(2) Sanctions by Court in Which Action is Pending. If a party or an officer, director, or managing agent of a party or a person designated under 30(b)(6) or 31(a) TCRCP to testify on behalf of a party fails to obey an order to provide or permit discovery, including an order made under subdivision (a) of this rule or 35 TCRCP, or if a party fails to obey an order entered under orders in regard to the failure as are just, and among others the following:
(A) An order that the matters regarding which the order was made or any other designated facts shall be taken to be established for the purposes of the action in accordance with the claim of the party obtaining the order;
(B) An order refusing to allow the disobedient party to support or oppose designated claims or defenses, or prohibiting him from introducing designated matters in evidence;
(C) An order striking out pleadings or parts thereof, or staying further proceedings until the order is obeyed, or dismissing the action or proceeding or any part thereof, or rendering a judgement by default against the disobedient party;
(D) In lieu of any of the foregoing orders or in addition thereto, an order treating as a contempt of court the failure to obey any orders except an order to submit to a physical or mental examination;
(E) Where a party has failed to comply with an order under 35(a) TCRCP requiring him to produce another for examination, such orders as are listed in paragraphs (A), (B), and (C) of this subdivision, unless the party failing to comply shows that he is unable to produce such person for examination.
In lieu of any of the foregoing orders or in addition thereto, the court shall require the party failing to obey the order or the attorney advising him or both to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, caused by the failure, unless the court finds that the failure was substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.
(c)Expenses on Failure to Admit. If a party fails to admit the genuineness of any document or the truth of any matter as requested under 56 TCRCP and if the party requesting the admissions thereafter proves the genuineness of the document of the truth of the matter, he may apply to the court for an order requiring the order party to pay him the reasonable expenses incurred in making that proof, including reasonable attorney's fees. The court shall make the order unless it finds that (1) the request was held objectionable pursuant to 36(a) TCRCP, or (2) the admission sought was of no substantial importance, or (3) the party failing to admit had reasonable ground to believe that he might prevail on the matter, or (4) there was other good reason for the failure to admit.
(d)Failure of Party to Attend at Own Deposition or Serve Answers to Interrogatories or Respond to Request for Inspection. If a party or an officer, director, or managing agent of a party or a person designated under 30(b)(6) or 31(a) TCRCP to testify on behalf of a party fails (1) to appear before the officer who is to take his deposition, after being served with a proper notice, or (2) to serve answers or objections to interrogatories, or (3) to serve a written response to a request for inspection submitted under 34 TCRCP, after proper service of the request, the court in which the action is pending on motion may make such orders in regard to the failure as are just, and among others it may take any action authorized under paragraphs (A), (B), and (C) of subdivision (b)(2) of this rule. In lieu of any order or in addition thereto, the court shall require the party failing to act or the attorney advising him or both to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, caused by the failure, unless the court finds that the failure was substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.
The failure to act described in this subdivision may not be excused on the ground that the discovery sought is objectionable unless the party failing to act has applied for a protective order as provided by 26 TCRCP.
(f)Expenses Against United States. Except to the extent permitted by statute, expenses and fees may not be awarded against the United States under this rule.
(g)Failure to Participate in the Framing of a Discovery Plan. If a party or his attorney fails to participate in good faith in the forming of a discovery plan by agreement as is required by 26(f) TCRCP, the court may, after opportunity for hearing, require such party or his attorney to pay any other party the reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, caused by the failure.
The courts of American Samoa, and in conformity with proceedings pursuant to 16 TCRCP, may place actions upon the trial calendar (1) without request of the parties or (2) upon request of a party and notice to the other parties. Precedence shall be given to actions entitled thereto by a statute of American Samoa.
(a) Voluntary Dismissal: Effect Thereof.
(1) By Plaintiff; by Stipulation. Subject to the provisions of 26(e) TCRCP or of any statute of American Samoa an action may be dismissed by the plaintiff without order of court (i) by filing a notice of dismissal at any time before service by the adverse party of an answer or of a motion for summary judgment, whichever first occurs, or (ii) by filing a stipulation of dismissal signed by all parties who have appeared in the action. Unless otherwise stated in the notice of dismissal or stipulation, the dismissal is without prejudice, except that a notice of dismissal operates as an adjudication upon the merits when filed by a plaintiff who has once dismissed in any court of American Samoa, or the United States or of any state an action based of or including the same claim.
(2) By Order of Court. Except as provided in paragraph (1) of this subdivision of this rule, an action shall not be dismissed at the plaintiff's instance save upon order of the court and upon such terms and conditions as the court deems proper. If a counterclaim has been pleaded by a defendant prior to the service upon him of the plaintiff's motion to dismiss, the action shall not be dismissed against the defendant's objection unless the counterclaim can remain pending for independent adjudication by the court. Unless otherwise specified in the order, a dismissal under this paragraph is without prejudice.
(3) Settlements. Whenever a case set for trial has been settled, the attorneys or parties appearing in person shall immediately notify the court thereof and move for dismissal.
(b)Involuntary Dismissal: Effect Thereof. For failure of the plaintiff the prosecute or to comply with these rules or any order of court, a defendant may move for dismissal of an action or of any claim against him. After the plaintiff, in an action tried by the court, has completed the presentation of his evidence, the defendant, without waiving his right to offer evidence in the event the motion is not granted, may move for a dismissal on the ground upon the facts and the law the plaintiff has shown no right to relief. The court as trier of the facts may then determine them and render judgment against the plaintiff or may decline to render any judgment until the close of all the evidence. If the court shall make findings as provided in 52(a) TCRCP. Unless the court in its order for dismissal otherwise specifies, a dismissal under this subdivision any dismissal not provided or in this rule, other than a dismissal for lack of jurisdiction, for improper venue, or for failure to join a party under 19 TCRCP, operates as a adjudication upon the merits.
(c) Dismissal of Counterclaim, Cross-Claim, or Third-Party Claim. The provisions of this rule apply to the dismissal of any counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim. A voluntary dismissal by the claimant alone pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of this rule shall be made before a responsive pleading is served or, if there is none, before the introduction of evidence at the trial or hearing.
(d)Costs of Previously Dismissed Action. If a plaintiff who has once dismissed an action in any court commences an action based upon or including the same claim against the same defendant, the court may make such order for the payment of costs of the action previously dismissed as it may deem proper and may stay the proceedings in the action until the plaintiff has complied with the order.
(a)Consolidation. When actions involving a common question of law or fact are pending before the court, it may order a joint hearing or trial of any or all the matters in issue in the actions; it may order all the actions consolidated; and it may make such orders concerning proceedings therein as may tend to avoid unnecessary costs or delay.
(b)Separate Trials. The court, in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice, or when separate trials will be conducive to expedition and economy, may order a separate trial of any claim, cross-claim, counterclaim, or third-party claim, or of any separate issue or of any number of claims, cross-claims, counterclaims, third-party claims, or issue.
(a)Form. In all trials the testimony of witnesses shall be taken orally in open court, unless otherwise provided by a statute of American Samoa or by these rules or the American Samoa Rules of Evidence.
(d)Affirmation in Lieu of Oath. Whenever under these rules an oath is required to be taken, a solemn affirmation may be accepted in lieu thereof.
(e)Evidence on Motions. When a motion is based on facts not appearing of record the court may hear the matter on affidavits presented by the respective parties, but the court may direct that the matter be heard wholly or partly on oral testimony or deposition.
(1) Domestic. An official record kept within American Samoa or the United States, or any state, district, commonwealth, territory, or insular possession thereof, or within the Panama Canal Zone, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, or the Ryukyu Islands, or an entry therein, when admissible for any purpose, may be evidenced by an official publication thereof or by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record, or by his deputy, and accompanied by a certificate that such officer has the custody. The certificate may be made by a judge of a court of record of the district or political subdivision in which the record is kept, authenticated by the seal of the court, or may be made by any public officer having a seal of office and having official duties in the district or political subdivision in which the record is kept, authenticated by the seal of his office.
(2) Foreign. A foreign official record, or an entry therein, when admissible for any purpose, may be evidenced by an official plication thereof; or a copy thereof, attested by a person authorized to make the attestation, and accompanied by a final certification as to the genuineness of the signature and official position (i) of the attesting person or (ii) of any foreign official whose certificate of genuineness of signature and official position relating to the attestation. A final certification may be made by a secretary of embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice consul, or consular agent of the United States. If reasonable opportunity has been given to all parties to investigate the authenticity and accuracy of the documents, the court may, for good cause shown, (i) admit an attested copy without final certification or (ii) permit the foreign official record to be evidence by an attested summary with or without a final certification.
(b) Lack of Record. A written statement that after diligent search no record or entry of a specified tenor is found to exist in the records designated by the statement, authenticated as provided in subdivision (a)(1) of this rule in the case of a domestic record, or complying with the requirements of subdivision (a)(2) of this rule for a summary in the case of a foreign record, is admissible as evidence that the records contain no such record or entry.
(c)Other Proof. This rule does not prevent the proof of official records or of entry of lack of entry therein by any other method authorized by law.
A party who intends to raise an issue concerning the law of a foreign country shall give notice in his pleadings or other reasonable written notice. The court, in determining foreign law, may consider any relevant material of source, including testimony, whether or not submitted by a party or admissible under the American Samoa Rules of Evidence. The court's determination shall be treated as a ruling on a question of law.
(a)For Attendance of Witnesses; Form; Issuance. Every subpoena shall be issued by the clerk under the seal of the court, shall state the name of the court and the title of the action, and shall command each person to whom it is directed to attend and give testimony at a time and place therein specified. The clerk shall issue a subpoena, or a subpoena for the production of documentary evidence, signed and sealed but otherwise in blank, to a party requesting it, who shall fill it in before service.
(b)For Production of Documentary Evidence. A subpoena may also command the person to whom it is directed to produce the books, papers, documents, or tangible things designated therein; but the court, upon motion made promptly and in any event at or before the time specified in the subpoena for compliance therewith, may (1) quash or modify the subpoena if it is unreasonable and oppressive or (2) condition denial of the motion upon the advancement by the person in whose behalf the subpoena is issued of the reasonable cost of producing the books, papers, documents, or tangible things.
(c)Service. A subpoena may be served by the marshal, by his deputy, or by any other person who is not a party and is not less than 18 years of age. Service of a subpoena upon a person named therein shall be made by delivering a copy thereof to such person and by tendering to him the fees for one day's attendance and the mileage allowed by law. When the subpoena is issued on behalf of the American Samoa Government or an officer or agency thereof, fees and mileage need not be tendered.
(d)Subpoena for Taking Deposition; Place of Examination. Proof of service of notice to take a deposition as provided in 30(b) and 31(a) TCRCP constitutes a sufficient authorization for the issuance by the clerk of court of subpoenas for the persons named or described therein. The subpoena may command the person to whom it is directed to produce and permit inspection and copying of designated books, papers, documents, or tangible things which constitutes or contain matters within the scope of the examination permitted by 26(b) TCRCP but in that event the subpoena will be subject to the provisions of 26(c) TCRCP and subdivision (b) of this rule.
The person to whom the subpoena is directed may, within 10 days after the service thereof or on or before the time specified after in the subpoena for compliance if such time is less than 10 days after service, serve upon the attorney designated in the subpoena written objection to inspection or copying of any or all of the designated materials. If objection is made, the party serving the subpoena shall not be entitled to inspect and copy the materials except pursuant to an order of the court from which the subpoena was issued. The party serving the subpoena may, if objection has been made, move upon notice to the deponent for an order at any time before our during the taking of the deposition.
(e)Subpoena for a Hearing or Trial.
(1) At the request of any party subpoenas for attendance at a hearing or trial shall be issued by the clerk of court
(f)Contempt. Failure by any person without adequate excuse to obey a subpoena served upon him may be deemed a contempt of the court from which the subpoena issued.
Formal exceptions to rulings or orders of the court are unnecessary; but for all purposes for which an exception has heretofore been necessary it is sufficient that a party, at the time the ruling or order of the court is made or sought, makes known to the court the action which he desires the court to take or his objection to the action of the court and his grounds therefor; and if a party has no opportunity to object to a ruling or order at the time it is made, the absence of an objection does not thereafter prejudice him.
(a)In all actions tried upon the facts, the court shall find the facts specially and state separately its conclusions of law thereon, and judgment shall be entered pursuant to 58 TCRCP; and in granting or refusing interlocutory injunctions the court shall similarly set forth the findings of fact and conclusions of law which constitute the grounds of its action. But the court may require the prevailing party to prepare the proposed findings of fact and also conclusions of law. Requests for findings are not necessary for purposes of review. Findings of fact shall not be set aside unless clearly erroneous, and due regard shall be given to the opportunity of the trial court to judge of the credibility of the witnesses. The findings of a master, to the extent that the court adopts them, shall be considered as the findings of the court. If an opinion or memorandum of decision is filed, it will be sufficient if the findings of fact and conclusions of law appear therein. Findings of fact and conclusions of law are unnecessary on decisions of motions under 12 or 56 TCRCP or any other motion except as provided in 41(b) TCRCP.
(b)Amendment. Upon motion of a party made not later than 10 days after entry of judgment the court may amend its findings or make additional findings and may amend the judgment accordingly. The question of the sufficiency of the evidence to support the findings may thereafter be raised whether or not the party raising the question has made in the trial court an objection to such findings or has made a motion to amend them or a motion for judgment. The party so directed shall lodge them with the clear, with proof of service upon all parties, and the clerk shall hold them for five days before presentation to the judge. Any party who disapproves the form of proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law or judgment shall, within five days after service of a copy upon him, serve and lodge with the clerk a notice of a disapproval, together with proposed modifications and reasons therefor.
(a)Definition; Form. "Judgment" as used in these rules includes a decree and any order form which an appeal lies. A judgment shall not contain a recital of pleadings or the record of prior proceedings.
(b)Judgment Upon Multiple Claims or Involving Multiple Parties. When more than one claim for relief is presented in an action, whether as a claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, or when multiple parties are involved, the court may direct the entry of a final judgment as to one or more but fewer than all of the claims or parties only upon an express determination that there is no just reason for delay and upon an express direction for the entry of judgment. In the absence of such determination and direction, any order or other form of decision, however designated, which adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the parties shall not terminate the action as to any of the claims or parties, and the order or other form of decision is subject to revision at any time before the entry of judgment adjudicating all the claims and the rights and liabilities of all the parties.
(c)Demand for Judgment. A judgment by default shall not be different in kind from or exceed in amount that prayed for in the demand for judgment. Except as to a party against whom a judgment is entered by default, every final judgment shall grant the relief to which the party in whose favor it is rendered is entitled, even if the party has not demanded such relief in his pleadings.
(d)Costs. Except when express provision therefor is made either in a statute of American Samoa or in these rules, costs shall be allowed as of course to the prevailing party unless the court otherwise directs; but costs against the American Samoa Government or the United States, their officers, and agencies shall be imposed only to the extent permitted by law. Costs may be taxed by the clerk on one day's notice. On motion served within 5 days thereafter, the action of the clerk be reviewed by the court.
(a)Entry. When a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend as provide by these rules and that fact is made to appear by affidavit or otherwise, the clerk shall enter his default.
(b)Judgment. Judgment by default may be entered upon motion of the party entitled to the judgment; but no judgment by default shall be entered against an infant or incompetent person unless represented in the action by a general guardian, committed, conservator, or other such representative who has appeared therein.
The moving party shall serve the party against whom judgment by default is sought (or, if the party has appeared by representative, shall serve his representative) written notice of the application for judgment at least 10 days prior to the hearing on such application. Such notice shall be in English and in Samoan. If the party against whom judgment is sought cannot be found within American Samoa, service of the notice shall be by registered or certified mail to his last known address at least 15 days prior to the hearing.
If, in order to enable the court to enter judgment or to carry it into effect, it is necessary to take an account or to determine the amount of damages or to establish the truth of any averment by evidence or to make an investigation of any other matter, the court may conduct such hearings or order such references as it deems necessary and proper.
(c)Setting Aside Default. For good cause shown the court may set aside an entry of default and, if a judgment by default has been entered, may likewise set it aside in accordance with 60(b) TCRCP.
(d)Plaintiffs, Counterclaimants, Cross-Claimants. The provisions of this rule apply whether the party entitled to the judgment by default is a plaintiff, a third-party plaintiff, or a party who has pleaded a cross-claim or counterclaim. In all cases a judgment by default is subject to the limitations of 54(c) TCRCP.
(e)Proof Required Despite Default in Certain Cases. No judgment by default shall be entered against the American Samoa Government or the United States or an officer or agency or either or against infants, incompetents, or parties to a suit for divorce or annulment of marriage unless the claimant established his claim or right to relief by evidence satisfactory to the court.
Effective July 28, 1995
(a)For Claimant. A party seeking to recover upon a claim, counterclaim or to obtain a declaratory judgment may, at any time after the expiration of 20 days from the commencement of the action or after service of a motion for summary judgment by the adverse party, move with or without supporting affidavits for a summary judgment in his favor upon all or any part thereof.
(b)For Defending Party. A party against who a claim, counterclaim, or cross-claim is asserted or a declaratory judgment is sought may, at any time, move with or without supporting affidavits for a summary judgment in his favor as to all or any part thereof.
(c)Motion and Proceeding Thereon. The motion shall be served at least 10 days before the time fixed for the hearing. The adverse party prior to the day of hearing may serve opposing affidavits. The judgment sought shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. A summary judgment, interlocutory in character, may be rendered on the issue of liability alone although there is a genuine issue as to the amount of damages.
(d)Case Not Fully Adjudicated on Motion. If on motion under this rule judgment is not rendered upon the whole case or for all the relief asked and a trial is necessary, the court at the hearing of the motion, by examining the pleadings and the evidence before it and by interrogating counsel, shall if practicable ascertain what material facts exist without substantial controversy an what material facts are actually and in good faith controverted. It shall thereupon make an order specifying the facts that appear without substantial controversy, including the extent to which the amount of damages or other relief is not in controversy, and directing such further proceedings in the action as are just. Upon the trial of the action the facts so specified shall be deemed established, and the trial shall be conducted accordingly.
(e)Form of Affidavits; Further Testimony; Defense Required. Supporting and opposing affidavits shall be made on personal knowledge, shall set forth set forth such facts as would be admissible in evidence, and shall show affirmatively that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters stated therein. Sworn or certified copies of all papers or parts thereof referred to in an affidavit shall be attached thereto or served therewith. The court may permit affidavits to be supplemented or opposed by depositions, answers to interrogatories, or further affidavits. When a motion for summary judgment is made and supported as provided in this rule, an adverse party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleading, but his response, by affidavits or as otherwise provided in this rule, must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. If he does not so respond, summary judgment, if appropriate, shall be entered against him.
(f)When Affidavits are Unavailable. Should it appear from the affidavits of a party opposing the motion that he cannot for reasons stated present by affidavit facts essential to justify his opposition, the court may refuse the application for judgment or may order a continuance to permit affidavits to be obtained or depositions to be taken or discovery to be had or may make such other order as is just.
(g)Affidavits Made in Bad Faith. Should it appear to the satisfaction of the court at any time that any of the affidavits presented pursuant to this rule are presented in bad faith or solely for the purpose of delay, the court shall forthwith order the party employing them to pay to the other party the amount of the reasonable expense which the filing of the affidavits cause him to incur, including reasonable attorney's fees, and an offending party or attorney may be adjudged guilty of contempt.
The procedure for obtaining a declaratory judgment pursuant to 43.1101 ASCA, shall be in accordance with these rules. The existence of another adequate remedy does not preclude a judgment for declaratory relief in cases where it is appropriate.
Subject to the provisions of 54(b) TCRCP: (1) upon a decision by the court that a party shall recover only a sum certain or costs or that all relief shall be denied, the clerk, unless the court otherwise orders, shall forthwith prepare, sign, and enter the judgment without awaiting any direction by the court; (2) upon a decision by the court granting other relief, or upon a special verdict or a general verdict accompanied by answers to interrogatories, the court shall promptly approve the form of the judgment, and the clerk shall thereupon enter it. Every judgment shall be set forth on a separate document. A judgment is effective only when so set forthwith prepare, sign, and enter the judgment without awaiting any direction by the court; (2)upon a decision by the court granting other relief, or upon a special verdict or a general verdict accompanied by answers to interrogatories, the court shall promptly approve the form of the judgment, and the clerk shall thereupon enter it. Every judgment shall be set forth on a separate document. A judgment is effective only when so set forth and when entered as provided in 23 HCR. Entry of the judgment shall not be delayed for the taxing of costs. Attorneys shall not submit forms of judgment except upon direction of the court, and these directions shall not be given as a matter of course.
(a) Grounds. A new trial may be granted to all or any of the parties and on all or part of the issues for any of the reasons for which rehearings have heretofore been granted in suits in equity. On a motion for a new trial the court may open the judgment if one has been entered, take additional testimony, amend findings of fact and conclusions of law or make new findings and conclusions, and direct the entry of a new judgment.
(b)Time for Motion. A motion for a new trial shall be served not later than 10 days before the date of the hearing.
(c)Time for Serving Affidavits. When a motion for new trial is based upon affidavits they shall be served with the motion. The opposing party has 3 days before the hearing which to serve opposing affidavits and memorandum. The court may permit reply affidavits.
(d) On Initiative of Court. Not later than 10 days after entry of judgment the court of its own initiative may order a new trial for any reason for which it might have granted a new trial on motion of a party. After giving the parties notice and an opportunity to be heard on the matter, the court may grant a motion for a new trial, timely served, for a reason not stated in the motion. In either case, the court shall specify in the order the grounds therefor.
(e)Motion to Alter or Amend a Judgment. A motion to alter or amend the judgment shall be served not later than 10 days after entry of the judgment.
(a)Clerical Mistakes. Clerical mistakes in judgments, orders or other parts of the record and errors therein arising from oversight or omission may be corrected by the court at any time of its own initiative or on the motion of any party and after such notice, if any, as the court orders. During the pendency of an appeal, such mistakes may be so corrected before the appeal is docketed in the appellate division, and thereafter while the appeal is pending may be so corrected with leave of the appellate division or a judge thereof.
(b)Mistakes; Inadvertence; Excusable Neglect; Newly Discovered Evidence; Fraud, etc. On motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party or his legal representative from final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under 59(b) TCRCP; (3) fraud (whether heretofore denominated intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or other misconduct of an adverse party; (4) the judgment is void; (5) the judgment has been satisfied, release, or discharged, or prior judgment upon which it is based has been reversed or otherwise vacated, or it is no longer equitable that the judgment should have prosecutive application; or (6) any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment. The motions shall be made within a reasonable time, and for reason (1), (2), and (3) not more than one year after the judgment, order, or proceeding was entered or taken. A motion under this subdivision (b) does not affect the finality of a judgment or suspend its operation. This rule does not limit the power of a court to entertain an independent action to relieve a party from a judgment, order, or proceeding, or to set aside a judgment for fraud upon the court. Writs of coram nobis, coram vobis, audit querela, and bills of review and bills in the nature of a bill of review, are abolished, and the procedure for obtaining any relief from a judgment shall be by motion as prescribed in these rules or by an independent action.
No error in either the admission or the exclusion of evidence and no error or defect in any ruling or order or in anything done or omitted by the court or by any of the parties is ground for granting a new trial or for setting aside a verdict or for vacating, modifying or otherwise disturbing a judgment or order, unless refusal to take such action appears to the court inconsistent with substantial justice. The court at every stae of the proceeding must disregard any error or defect in the proceeding which does not affect the substantial rights of the parties.
(a) Automatic Stay; Exceptions-Injunctions and Receiverships. Except as stated herein, no execution shall issue upon a judgment nor shall proceedings be taken for its enforcement until the expiration of 10 days after its entry. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, an interlocutory of final judgment in an action for an injunction, shall not be stayed during the period after its entry and until an appeal is taken or during the pendency of an appeal. The provisions of subdivision (c) of this rule govern the suspending, modifying, restoring, or granting of an injunction during the pendency of an appeal.
(b)Stay on Motion for New Trial or for Judgment. In its discretion and on such conditions for the security of the adverse party as are proper, the court may stay the execution of or any proceedings to enforce a judgment pending the disposition of a motion for a new trial or to alter or amend a judgment made pursuant to 59 TCRCP, or of a motion for relief from a judgment or order made pursuant to 60 TCRCP, or of a motion for amendment to the findings or for additional findings made pursuant to 52 (b) TCRCP.
(c)Injunction Pending Appeal. When an appeal is taken from an interlocutory of final judgment granting, dissolving, or denying an injunction, the court in its discretion may suspend, modify, restore, or grant an injunction during the pendency of the appeal upon such terms as to bond or otherwise as it considers proper for the security of the rights of the adverse party.
(d)Stay Upon Appeal. Subject to the discretion of the court, when an appeal is taken the appellant by giving a supersedeas bond may obtain a stay subject to the exceptions contained in subdivision (a) of this rule. The bond may be given at or after the time of filing the notice of appeal. The stay is effective when the supersedeas bond is approved by the court.
(e)Stay in Favor of the American Samoa Government or the United States or Agency Thereof. When an appeal is taken by the American Samoa Government or the United States or an officer or agency thereof or by direction of any department of the American Samoa Government or the Government of the United States and the operation or enforcement of the judgment is stayed, no bond, obligation, or other security shall be required from the appellant.
(g)Power of Appellate Division Not Limited. The provisions in this rule do not limit any power of the appellate division or of a justice thereof to stay proceedings during the pendency of an appeal or to suspend, modify, restore, or grant an injunction during the pendency or an appeal or to make any order appropriate to preserve the status quo or the effectiveness of the judgment subsequently to be entered.
(h)Stay of Judgment as to Multiple Claims or Multiple Parties. When a court has ordered a final judgment under the conditions stated in 54(b) TCRCP, the court may stay enforcement of that judgment or judgments and may prescribe such conditions as are necessary to secure the benefit thereof to the party in whose favor the judgment is entered.
If by reason of death, sickness, or other disability, a judge before whom an action has been tried is unable to perform the duties to be performed by the court under these rules after findings of fact and conclusions of law are filed, then any other judge regularity sitting in or assigned to the court in which the action was tried may perform those duties; but if such other judge is satisfied that he cannot perform those duties because he did not preside at the trial or for any other reason, he may in his discretion grant a new trial.
An action involving the recovery or possession of specific personal property before judgment or an action whereby the owner of a security interest in personal property seeks to recover possession of said personal property prior to judgment, the procedure of an application for such pre-judgment seizure shall be as follows:
(a)Affidavit. The plaintiff shall file with the court an affidavit or personal knowledge containing the following information:
(1) Description of Property. A description of the claimed property that is sufficient to make possible its identification and its location.
(2) Statement of Title or Right. A statement that the plaintiff is the owner of the claimed property or is entitled to possession of it, describing the source of such title or right and, if the plaintiff's interest in such property is based on a written instrument, a copy of said instrument must be attached to the affidavit.
(3) Statement of Wrongful Detention. A statement of specific facts which show that the property is wrongfully detained by the defendant and a statement of the cause of such detention according to the best knowledge, information and belief of the plaintiff.
(4)Statement of Risk of Injury. A statement of specific facts in support of the contention, if any, that there is risk of concealment, transfer or other disposition of or damage to the property to the injury of the plaintiff.
(1) Preliminary Examination by the Court. The court, without delay, shall examine the complaint, the application and supporting affidavit and its attachments and any further showing offered by the plaintiff in support of the plaintiff's right to the immediate possession of the property.
(2) Preliminary Finding for the Plaintiff; Writ of Seizure without Hearing; Hearing on Dissolution. If the court upon preliminary examination finds that the risk of concealment, transfer or other disposition of or damage to the property by permitting it to remain in the possession of the defendant between the filing of the action and the time of a hearing is real, then the court shall forthwith enter an order authorizing the issuance of a writ of seizure but the court shall provide in said order that the defendant is entitled, as a matter of right, to a pre-judgment hearing on the issue of dissolution of the writ if a written request for hearing is served on counsel for the plaintiff within five days from the date of seizure of the property by the marshal. If such a request is made, the writ shall expire upon the fifteenth day from said date of seizure unless the court, after hearing, continues the order in effect. The expiration of the writ shall not prejudice the right of the plaintiff to a reinstatement thereof but any such reinstatement shall not be made without notice and hearing. If no request for a hearing is made within the five-day period, the writ shall remain in effect pending further order of the court but, the court, in its discretion, may hear a request for dissolution of the writ although said request is served more than five days from the date of seizure.
(3) Failure to Make Preliminary Finding for the Plaintiff; Order of Hearing; Hearing on Writ of Seizure. If the court fails to make a preliminary finding for the plaintiff under (b)(2) subdivision of this rule, the court shall order and direct that the plaintiff's application to the court for a writ of seizure or such other writ be set down for a hearing before the court at the earliest practical time and notice of the time, date and place of said hearing shall be forthwith served on the defendant. Said notice to the defendant shall provide that the defendant shall not dispose of or alter in any form the personalty therein described pending the hearing of the application and shall state that if the covered, he shall be subject to punishment for contempt of court. At such hearing the plaintiff shall have the burden of showing good cause for the pre-judgment seizure but the failure of the defendant to appear shall be deemed a waiver of any objections to the pre-judgment seizure.
The rules supplement the statutory provisions concerning injunctions.
(1) Notice. No preliminary injunction shall be issued without notice to the adverse party.
(2) Consolidation of Hearing With Trial on Merits. Before or after the commencement of the hearing of an application for a preliminary injunction, the court may order the trial of the action on the merits to be advanced and consolidated with the hearing of the application. Even when this consolidation is not ordered, any evidence received upon an application for a preliminary injunction which would be admissible upon the trial merits becomes part of the record in the trial and need not be repeated upon the trial.
Whenever these rules or any statute, including the Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims, require or permit the giving of security by a party, an security is given in the form of a bond or stipulation or other undertaking with one or more sureties, each surety submits himself to the jurisdiction of the court and irrevocably appoints the clerk of the court as his agent upon whom any papers affecting his liability on the bond or undertaking may be served. His liability on the bond or undertaking may be served. His liability may be enforced on motion without the necessity of an independent action. The motion and such notice of the motion as the court prescribes may be served on the clerk of the court, who shall forthwith mail copies to the sureties if their addresses are known.
In an action in which any part of the relief sought is a judgment for a sum of money or the disposition of a sum of money or the disposition of any other thing capable of delivery, a party, upon notice to every other party, and by leave of court, may deposit with the court all or any part of such sum or thing. All funds over $1,000.00 shall be put into a interest bearing instrument.
Effective June 14, 1988
At any time more than 10 days before the trial begins, a party defending against a claim may serve upon the adverse party an offer to allow judgment to be taken against him for the money or property or to the effect specified in his offer, with cost then accrued. If within 10 days after the service of the offer the adverse party serves written notice that the offer is accepted, either party may then file the offer and notice of acceptance together with proof of service thereof and thereupon the clerk shall enter judgment. An offer not accepted shall be deemed withdrawn and evidence thereof is not admissible except in a proceeding to determine costs. If the judgment finally obtained by the offeree must pay the costs incurred after the making of the offer. The fact that an offer is made but not accepted does not preclude a subsequent offer. When the liability of one party to another has been determined by order or judgment, but the amount or extent of the liability remains to be determined by further proceedings, the party adjudged liable may make an offer of judgment, which shall have the same effect as an offer made before trial if it is served within a reasonable time not less than 10 days prior to the commencement of hearings to determine the amount or extent of liability.
(a)Process to enforce a judgment for the payment of money shall be a writ of execution, unless the court directs otherwise. The procedure on execution, in proceedings supplementary to and in aid of a judgment, and in proceedings on and in aid of execution shall be in accordance with Title 43, ASCA and with these rules. In aid of the judgment or execution, the judgment creditor or his successor in interest when that interest appears of record, may obtain discovery from any person, including the judgment debtor, in the manner provided by Title 43, ASCA and by these rules.
If a judgment directs a party to execute a conveyance of land or to deliver deeds or other documents or to perform any other specific act and the party fails to comply within the time specified, the court may direct the act to be done at the cost of the court and the act when so done has like effect as if done by the party. On application of the party entitled to performance. On application of the party entitled to performance, the clerk shall issue a writ of attachment or sequestration against the property of the disobedient party to compel obedience to the judgment. The court may also in proper cases adjudge the party in contempt. If real or personal property is within the Territory of American Samoa, the court in lieu of directing a conveyance thereof may enter a judgment divesting the title of any party and vesting it in others and such judgment has the effect of a conveyance when executed in due form of law. When any order or judgment is for the delivery of possession, the party in whose favor it is entered is entitled to a writ of execution or assistance upon application to the clerk.
When an order is made in favor of a person who is not a party to the action, he may enforce obedience to the order by the same process as if he were a party; and, when obedience to an order may be lawfully enforced against a person who is not a party, he is liable to the same process for enforcing obedience to the order as if he were a party.
(a)Applicability of Other Rules and Statutes. The American Samoa Rules of Civil Procedure govern the procedure for the condemnation of real and personal property under the power of eminent domain, except as other wise provided in this rule and Title 43, A.S.C.A..
(b)Joinder of Properties. The plaintiff may join in the same action one or more separate pieces of property, whether in the same or different ownership and whether or not sought for the same use.
(1) Caption. The complaint shall contain a caption as provided in 52 HCR, except that the plaintiff shall name as defendants the property, designated general by kind, quantity, and location, and at least one of the owners of some part of or interest in the property.
(2) Contents. The complaint shall contain a short and plain statement of the authority for the taking, of the use for which the property is to be taken, a description of the property sufficient for its identification, the interest to be acquired, and as to each separate piece of property a designation of the defendants who have been joined as owners thereof or of some interest therein. Upon the commencement of the action, the plaintiff need join as defendants only the persons having or claiming an interest in the property whose names are then known, but prior to any hearing involving the compensation to be paid for a piece of property, the plaintiff shall add as defendants all persons having or claiming an interest in that property whose name can be ascertained by a reasonably diligent search of the records, considering the character and value of the property involved and the interest to be acquired, and also those whose names have otherwise been learned. All others may be made defendants under the designation "Unknown Owners." Process shall be served as provided in subdivision (d) of this rule upon all defendants, whether names as defendants at the time of the commencement of the action or subsequently added, and a defendant may answer as provided in subdivision (e) of this rule. The court meanwhile may order such distribution of a deposit as the facts warrant.
(3) Filing. In addition to filing the complaint with the court, the plaintiff shall furnish to the clerk at least one copy thereof for the use of the defendants and additional copies at the request of the clerk or of a defendant.
(1) Notice; Delivery. Upon the filing of the complaint the plaintiff shall forthwith deliver to the clerk joint or several notices directed to the defendants named or designated in the complaint. Additional notices directed to defendants subsequently added shall be so delivered. The delivery of the notice and its service have the same effect as the delivery and service of the summons under 4 TCRCP.
(2) Same; Form. Each notice shall state the court, the title of the action, the name of the defendant to whom it is directed, that the action is to condemn property, a description of his property sufficient for its identification, the interest to be taken, the authority for the taking, the uses for which the property is to be taken, that the defendant may serve upon the plaintiff's attorney an answer within 20 days after service of the notice, and that the failure so to serve an answer constitutes a consent to the taking and to the authority of the court to proceed to hear the action and to fix the compensation. the notice shall conclude with the name of the plaintiff's attorney and an address within the Territory of American Samoa where he may be served. The notice need contain a description of no other property than that to be taken from the defendants to whom it is directed.
(3) Service of Notice.
(i) Personal Service. Personal service of the notice (but without copies of the complaint) shall be made in accordance with 4(c) and (d) TCRCP upon a defendant who resides within the Territory of American Samoa and whose residence is known.
(ii) Service by Publication. Upon the filing of a certificate of the plaintiff's attorney stating that the believes a defendant cannot be personally served, because after diligent inquiry within the Territory of American Samoa his place of residence cannot be ascertained by the plaintiff or, if ascertained that it is beyond the territorial limits of personal service as provided in this rule, service of the notice shall be made on this defendant by publication in a newspaper having a general circulation in American Samoa once a week for not less than three successive weeks. Prior to the last publication, a copy of the notice shall also be mailed to a defendant who cannot be personally served as provided in this rule but whose place of residence is then known. Unknown owners may be served by publication in like manner by a notice addressed to "Unknown Owners." In addition, all such published notices must be posted on the board in front of the Courthouse.
Service by publication is complete upon the date of the last publication. Proof of publication and mailing shall be made by certificate of the plaintiff's attorney, to which shall be attached a printed copy of the published notice with the name and dates of the newspaper marked thereon.
(4) Return; Amendment. Proof of service of the notice shall be made and amendment of the notice or proof of its service allowed in the manner provided for the return and amendment of the summons under 4(g) and (h) TCRCP.
(e)Appearance or Answer. If a defendant has not objection or defense to the taking of his property, he may serve a notice of appearance designating the property in which he claims to be interested. Thereafter he shall receive notice of all proceedings affecting it. If a defendant has any objection or defense to the taking of his property, he shall serve his answer within 20 days after the service of notice upon him. The answer shall identify the property in which he claims to have interest, state the nature and extent of the interest claimed, and state all his objections and defenses to the taking of his property. A defendant waives all defenses and objections not so presented, but at the trial of the issue of just compensation, whether or not he has previously appeared or answered, he may present evidence as to the amount of the compensation to be paid for his property, and he may share in the distribution of the award. No other pleading or motion asserting any additional defense or objection shall be allowed.
(f)Amendment of Pleadings. Without leave of court, the plaintiff may amend the complaint at any time before the trial of the issue of compensation and as many times as desired, but no amendment shall be made which will result in a dismissal forbidden by subdivision (h) of this rule. The plaintiff need not serve a copy of an amendment, but shall serve notice of the filing, as provided in Rule 5(b), upon any party affected thereby who has appeared and, in the manner provided in subdivision (d) of this rule, upon any party affected thereby who has not appeared. The plaintiff shall furnish to the clerk of the court for the use of the defendants at least one copy of each amendment, and he shall furnish additional copies on the request of the clerk or of a defendant. Within the time allowed by subdivision (e) of this rule a defendant may serve his answer to the amended pleading, in the form and manner and with the same effect as there provided.
(g)Substitution of Parents. If a defendant dies or becomes incompetent or transfers his interest after his joinder, the court may order substitution of the proper party upon motion and notice of hearing. If the motion and notice of hearing are to be served upon a person not already a party, service shall be made as provided in subdivision (d)(3) of this rule.
(i)Dismissal of Action.
(1) As of Right. If no hearing has begun to determine the compensation to be paid for a piece of property and the plaintiff has not acquired the title or a lesser interest in or taken possession, the plaintiff may dismiss the action as to that property, without an order of the court, by filing a notice of dismissal setting forth a brief description of the property as to which the action is dismissed.
(2) By Stipulation. Before the entry of any judgment vesting the plaintiff with title or a lesser interest in or possession of property, the action may be dismissed in whole or in part, without an order of the court, as to any property by filing a stipulation or dismissal by the plaintiff and the defendant affected thereby; and, if the parties so stipulate, the court may vacate any judgment that has been entered.
(3) By Order of the Court. At any time before compensation for a piece of property has been determined and paid and after motion and hearing, the court may dismiss the action as to that property, except that it shall not dismiss the action as to any part of the property or which the plaintiff has taken possession or in which the plaintiff has taken title or a lesser interest, but shall award just compensation for the possession, title or lesser interest so taken. The court at any time may drop a defendant unnecessarily or improperly joined.
(4) Effect. Except as otherwise provided in the notice, or stipulation of dismissal, or order of the court, any dismissal is without prejudice.
(j)Deposit and Its Distribution. The plaintiff shall deposit with the court any money required by law as a condition to the exercise of the power of eminent domain. In such cases the court and attorneys shall expedite the proceedings for the distribution of the money so deposited and for the ascertainment and payment of just compensation. If the amount which has been paid to him on distribution of the deposit, the court shall enter judgment against the plaintiff and in favor of the defendant for the deficiency. If the compensation finally awarded to any defendant is less than the amount which has been paid to him, the court shall enter judgment again the plaintiff and in favor of the defendant for the deficiency. If the compensation finally awarded to any defendant is less than the amount which has been paid to him, the court shall enter judgment against him and in favor of the plaintiff for the overpayment.
(l) Costs. Costs are not subject to 54(d) TCRCP.
(c)Whenever the testimony of a witness at a trial or hearing which was stenographically reported is admissible in evidence at a later trial, it may be proved by the transcript thereof duly certified by the person who reported the testimony.
These rules apply generally to all civil actions in the District Court and the High Court of American Samoa, unless another, more specific, provisions of the Rules of the Judiciary of American Samoa applies.
The forms contained in the Appendix of Forms to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are sufficient under the rules and are intended to indicate the simplicity and brevity of statement which the rules contemplate. However, an allegation of jurisdiction is required only in pleadings before the District Court and not in pleadings before the High Court of American Samoa.
RULE 87.EXTRAORDINARY WRITS: PURPOSE.The purpose of these rules, from 87 to 102, is to provide a uniform method of review of judicial, executive or administrative acts or failures to act only when there is no appeal allowed or the remedy by appeal is inadequate.
RULE 88.RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE APPLICABLE.Unless otherwise indicated herein the American Samoa Rules of Civil Procedure are applicable to hearings on petitions for extraordinary relief. Review of executive or administrative acts or failure to act is had in the Trial Division of the High Court. Review of acts of failures to act by the Village Courts and District Court is had in the Trial Division. Review of acts or failures to act by the Trial Division is had in the Appellate Division of the High Court.
(a)A verified petition with memorandum of points and authorities;
(b)An alternative writ; and
(c)An order granting the alternative writ.
RULE 90.CONTENTS OF PETITION. The title of any petition brought under these rule is "Petition for Extraordinary Relief." The caption is to properly identify the petitioner, the respondent, and any real parties in interest. The petition should contain allegations showing:
(a)The title and number of the main action, if any;
(b)The beneficial interest of the petitioner;
(c)The capacity of the respondent;
(d)The capacity of any real party in interest;
(e)Facts that will allow the court to understand the issues presented by the petition and from which the court can conclude that the petitioner has no other adequate relief;
(f)The issues presented;
(g)The reasons why the court should grant the petition; and
(h)Copies of any order, opinion, or parts of the record which may be essential for the court to understand the matters set forth in the petition.
In addition, the petition must contain a prayer for relief and it must be verified.
RULE 91.SERVICE; SUBMISSION.The petition and memorandum of points and authorities must be served on the respondent and all real parties in interest, if any, prior to submission to the court by presenting them, along with proof of service, to the clerk's office and payment of a filing fee.
RULE 94.ISSUANCE OF ALTERNATIVE WRIT; SERVICE. If the petition is granted, the clerk at the direction if the court, calendars the matter for hearing and issues the alternative writ to the petitioner. (See sample Alternative Writ form appended to these rules as Appendix A). Petitioner must serve on each respondent and real party in interest, if any, a copy of the alternative writ, at least 15 days prior to the hearing date and file a copy with proof of service at least 5 days prior to the hearing date.
RULE 95.SERVICE OF ANSWER AND REPLY. The respondent and any real party in interest must serve any answer on the petitioner at least 5 days prior to the hearing date and file a copy with proof of service at least 2 days prior to the hearing date. The petitioner must serve any reply and file a copy with proof of service 2 days prior to the hearing date.
RULE 96.HEARING. At the time set for the hearing, the attorneys for the parties, or the parties themselves if not represented by attorneys, shall appear in court. The clients may, but need not, be present. When no question of fact is raised, the matter shall be heard on pleadings and oral arguments. When a question of fact is raised, a regular trial on the merits shall he had.
RULE 97.PRIORITY. Petitions for extraordinary relief shall be placed on the regular civil action list with priority over all other civil actions except older matters of the same nature and any other matters given higher priority by rule of statute.
RULE 98.JUDGMENT. Based upon the decision of the court, the prevailing party shall prepare a proposed judgment and order for issuance of a peremptory writ, a proposed peremptory writ, if any, and, if requested by either party at the time of hearing or by the court at any time, proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. These papers must be filed with the court and served on the opposing party within 5 days of its decision.
RULE 99.OPPOSING TO PROPOSED JUDGMENT.Within 5 days after the date of filing with the court of the proposed judgment and order, peremptory writ, and findings of fact and conclusions of law, the opposing party may serve and file, with proof of service, opposition to them or any of them.
RULE 100.DETERMINATION OF PROPOSED JUDGMENT. If opposition is filed the court shall make a determination of the sufficiency and correctness of the proposed papers based on the papers presented or, if the court deems it appropriate, the court may have the clerk give the parties notice of either an informal or formal hearing on the matter. If an amendment is required, it shall be served and filed in the same manner as the original and similarly any opposition to the amendment shall be served and filed in the same manner as the original opposition.
RULE 101.ISSUANCE OF JUDGMENT. When the court determines that the proposed judgment and order, proposed peremptory writ and any findings of fact and conclusions of law, or any amendments thereof which may have been necessary, are satisfactory, the court shall sign the judgment and order, the peremptory writ, if any, and findings of fact and conclusions of law, if any. The clerk shall then file the judgment. A copy of the signed judgment and order, peremptory writ, if any, along with notice of entry of judgment shall be served on both parties.
RULE 102.NOTICE OF APPEAL. Any party aggrieved by the judgment may file a notice of appeal within 10 days after the date of service of the notice of entry of judgment unless, of course, the Appellate Division of the High Court has rendered the judgment, in which case there is no appeal.
RULE 103.ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW. All proceedings in the Trial Division of the High Court in the nature of judicial review of Workmen's Compensation Commission's orders shall be governed by 15-20 ACR.
SUPPLEMENTAL RULES FOR CERTAIN ADMIRALTY AND MARITIME CLAIMS
These Supplemental Rules apply to the procedure in admiralty and maritime claims within the meaning of 9(h) TCRCP with respect to the following remedies:
(1)Maritime attachment and garnishment;
(2)Actions in rem;
(3)Possessory, petitory, and partition actions;
(4)Actions for exoneration from or limitation of liability.
These rules also apply to the procedure in statutory condemnation proceedings analogous to maritime actions in rem, whether within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction or not. Except as otherwise provided, references in these Supplemental Rules to actions in rem include such analogous statutory condemnation proceedings.
The American Samoa Rules of Civil Procedure are also applicable to the foregoing proceedings except to the extent that they are inconsistent with these Supplemental Rules.
(1)When Available; Complaint, Affidavit, and Process. With respect to any admiralty or maritime claim in personam a verified complaint may contain a prayer for process to attach the defendant's goods and chattels, or credits and effects in the hands of garnishees named in the complaint to the amount sued for, if the defendant shall not be found within the territory. Such a complaint shall be accompanied by an affidavit signed by the plaintiff or his attorney that, to the affiant's knowledge, or to the best of his information and belief, the defendant cannot be found within the territory. When a verified complaint is supported by such an affidavit the clerk shall forthwith issue a summons and process of attachment and garnishment. In addition, or in the alternative, the plaintiff may invoke the remedies provided by territory law for attachment and garnishment or similar seizure of the defendant's property. Except for Rule E(8) these Supplemental Rules do not apply to territorial remedies so invoked.
(2)Notice to Defendant. No judgment by default shall be entered except upon proof, which may be by affidavit, (a) that the plaintiff or the garnishee has given notice of the action to the defendant by mailing to him a copy of the complaint, summons, and process of attachment or garnishment, using any form of mail requiring a return receipt, or (b) that the complaint, summons, and process of attachment or garnishment have been served on the defendant in a manner authorized by Rule 4(d) or (I), or (c) that the plaintiff or the garnishee has made diligent efforts to give notice of the action to the defendant and has been unable to do so.
(a) By Garnishee. The garnishee shall serve his answer, together with answers to any interrogatories served with the complaint, within 20 days after service of process upon him. Interrogatories to the garnishee may be served with the complaint without leave of court. If the garnishee refuses or neglects to answer on oath as to the debts, credits, or effects of the defendant in his hands, or any interrogatories concerning such debts, credits, and effects that may be preappointed by the plaintiff, the court may award compulsory process against him. If he admits any debts, credits, or effects, they shall be held in his hands or paid into the registry of the court, and shall be held in either case subject to the further order of the court.
(b) By Defendant. The defendant shall serve his answer within 30 days after process has been executed, whether by attachment of property or service on the garnishee.
(1)When Available. An action in rem may be brought:
(a) To enforce any maritime lien; or
(b) Whenever a statute of American Samoa or the United States provides for a maritime action in rem or a proceeding analogous thereto.
Except as otherwise provided by law a party who may proceed in rem may also, or in the alternative, proceed in personam against any person who may be liable.
Statutory provisions exempting vessels or other property owned or possessed by or operated by or for the Government of American Samoa or the United States from arrest or seizure are not affected by this rule. When a statute so provides, an action against the Government of American Samoa or the United States or an instrumentality thereof may proceed on in rem principles.
(2) Complaint. In action in rem the complaint shall be verified on oath or solemn affirmation. It shall describe with reasonable particularity the property that is the subject of the action and state that it is within the district or will be during the pendency of the action. In actions for the enforcement of forfeitures for violation of any statute of American Samoa or the United States the complaint shall state the place of seizure and whether it was on land or on navigable waters, and shall contain such allegations as may be required by the statute pursuant to which the action is brought.
(3) Process. Upon the filing of the complaint the clerk shall forthwith issue a warrant for the arrest of the vessel or other property that is the subject of the action and deliver it to the marshal for service. If the property that is the subject of the action consist in whole or in part of freight, or the proceeds of property sold, or other intangible property, the clerk shall issue a summons directing any person having control of the funds to show cause why they should no be paid into court to abide the judgment.
(4) Notice. No notice other than the execution of the process is required when the property that is the subject of the action has been released in accordance with Rule E(5). If the property is not released within 10 days after execution of process, the plaintiff shall promptly or within such time as may be allowed by the court cause public notice of the action and arrest to be given in a newspaper of general circulation in the district, designated by order of the court. Such notice shall specify the time within which the answer is required to be filed as provided by subdivision (6) of this rule.
(5) Ancillary Process. In any action in rem in which process has been served as provided by this rule, if any part of the property that is the subject of the action has not been brought within the control of the court because it has been removed or sold, or because it is intangible property in the hands of a person who has not been served with process, the court may, on motion, order any person having possession or control of such property or its proceeds to show cause why it should not be delivered into the custody of the marshal or paid into court to abide the judgment; and , after hearing, the court may enter such judgment as law and justice may require.
(6) Claim and Answer; Interrogatories. the claimant of property that is the subject of an action in rem shall file his claim within 10 days after process has been executed, or within such additional time as may be allowed by the court, and shall serve his answer within 20 days after the filing of the claim. The claim shall be verified on oath or solemn affirmation, and shall state the interest in the property by virtue of which the claimant demands its restitution and the right to defend the action. If the claim is made on behalf of the person entitled to possession by an agent, bailee, or attorney, it shall state that he is duly authorized to make the claim. At the time of answering the claimant shall also serve answers to any interrogatories served with the complaint. In actions in rem interrogatories may be so served without leave of court.
In all actions for possession, partition, and to try title maintainable according to the course of the admiralty practice with respect to a vessel, in all actions so maintainable with respect to the possession of cargo or other maritime property, and in all actions by one or more part owners against the others to obtain security for the return of the vessel from any voyage undertaken without their consent, or by one or more part owners against the others to obtain possession of the vessel for any voyage on giving security for its safe return, the process shall be by a warrant of arrest of the vessel, cargo, or other property, and by notice in the manner provided by Rule B(2) to the adverse party or parties.
(1)Applicability. Except as otherwise provided, this rule applies to actions in personam with process of maritime attachment and garnishment, actions in rem, and petitory, possessory, and partition actions, supplementing Rules B, C, and D.
(a) Complaint. In actions to which this rule is applicable the complaint shall state the circumstances from which the claim arises with such particularity that the defendant or claimant will be able, without moving for a more definite statement, to commence an investigation of the facts and to frame a responsive pleading.
(b) Security for Costs. Subject to the provisions of 54(d) TCRCP and of relevant statutes, the court may, on the filing of the complaint or on the appearance of any defendant, claimant, or any other party, or at any later time, require the plaintiff, defendant, claimant, or other party to give security, or additional security, in such sum as the court shall direct to pay all costs and expenses that shall be awarded against him by any interlocutory order or by the final judgment, or on appeal by the appellate division.
(a) Territorial Limits of Effective Service. Process in rem and of maritime attachment or garnishment shall be served only within the Territory of American Samoa.
(b) Issuance and Delivery. Issuance and delivery of process in rem, or of maritime attachment and garnishment, shall be held in abeyance if the plaintiff so requests.
(4)Execution of Process; Marshal's Return; Custody of Property.
(a) In General. Upon issuance and delivery of the process or, in the case of summons with process of attachment and garnishment, when it appears that the defendant cannot be found within the Territory of American Samoa, the marshal shall forwith execute the process in accordance with this subdivision (4), making due and prompt return.
(b) Tangible Property. If tangible property is to be attached or arrested, the marshal shall take it into his possession for safe custody. If the character or situation of the property is such that the taking of actual possession is impracticable, the marshal shall execute the process by affixing a copy thereof to the property in a conspicuous place and by leaving a copy of the complaint and process with the person having possession or his agent. In furtherance of his custody of any vessel the marhsal is authorized to make a written request to the port director no to grant clearance to such vessel until notified by the marshal or his deputy or by the clerk that the vessel has been released in accordance with these rules.
(c) Intangible Property. If intangible property is to be attached or arrested the marshal shall execute the process by leaving with the garnishee or other obligor a copy of the complaint and process requiring him to answer as provided in rules B(3)(a) and C(6); or he may accept for payment in to the registry of the court the amount owed to the extent of the amount claimed by the plaintiff with interest and costs, in which event the garnishee or other obligor shall not be required to answer unless alias process shall be served.
(d) Direction with Respect to Property in Custody. The marshal may at any time apply to the court for directions with respect to property that has been attached or arrested, and shall give notice of such application to any or all of the parties as the court may direct.
(5)Release of Property.
(a) Special Bond. Except in cases of seizures for forfeiture under any law of American Samoa or the United States, whenever process of maritime attachment and garnishment or process in rem is issued the execution of such process shall be stayed, or the property released, on the giving of security, to be approved by the court or clerk, or by stipulation of the parties, conditioned to answer the judgment of the court or of the appellate division. The parties may stipulate the amount and nature of such security. In the event of the inability or refusal of the parties so to stipulate the court shall fix the principal sum of the bond or stipulation at an amount sufficient to cover the amount of the plaintiff's claim fairly stated with accrued interest and costs; but the principal sum shall in no event exceed (I) twice the amount of the plaintiff's claim or (ii) the value of the property on due appraisement, whichever is smaller. The bond or stipulation shall be conditioned for the payment of the principal sum and interest thereon at 6 per cent per annum.
(b) General Bond. The owner of any vessel may file a general bond or stipulation, with sufficient surety, to be approved by the court, conditioned to answer the judgment of such court in all or any actions that may be brought thereafter in such court in which the vessel is attached or arrested. Thereupon the execution of all such process against such vessel shall be stayed so long as the amount secured by such bond or stipulation is at least double the aggregate amount claimed by secured by such bond or stipulation is at least double the aggregate amount claimed by plaintiffs in all actions begun and pending in which such vessel has been attached or arrested. Judgments and remedies may be had on such bond or stipulation as if a special bond or stipulation had been filed in each of such actions. The trial division may make necessary orders to carry this rule into effect, particularly as to the giving of proper notice of any action against or attachment of a vessel for which a general bond has been filed. Such bond or stipulation shall be indorsed by the clerk. Further security may be required by the court at any time.
If a special bond or stipulation is given in a particular case, the liability on the general bond or stipulation shall cease as to that case.
(c) Release by Consent or Stipulation; Order of Court or Clerk; Costs. Any vessel, cargo, or other property in the custody of the marshal may be released forthwith upon his acceptance and approval of a stipulation, bond, or other security, signed by the party on whose behalf the property is detained or his attorney and expressly authorizing such release, if all costs and charges of the court and its officers shall have first been paid. Otherwise no property in the custody of the marshal or other officer of the court shall be released without an order of the court; but such order may be entered as of course by the clerk, upon the giving of approved security as provided by law and these rules, or upon the dismissal or discontinuance of the action; but the marshal shall not deliver any property so released until the costs and charges of the officers of the court shall first have been paid.
(d) Possessory, Petitory, and Partition Actions. The foregoing provisions of this subdivision (5) do not apply to petitory, possessory, and partition actions. In such cases the property arrested shall be released only by order of the court, on such terms and conditions and on the giving of such security as the court may require.
(6)Reduction or Impairment of Security. Whenever security is taken the court may, on motion and hearing, for good cause shown, reduce the amount of security given; and if the surety shall be or become insufficient, new or additional sureties may be required on motion and hearing.
(7)Security on Counterclaim. Whenever there is asserted a counterclaim arising out of the same transaction or occurrence with respect to which the action was originally filed, and the defendant or claimant in the original action has given security to respond in damages to the claim set forth in such counterclaim, unless the court, for cause shown, shall otherwise direct; and proceedings on the original claim shall be stayed until such security is given, unless the court otherwise directs. When the American Samoa Government or the United States or a corporate instrumentality thereof as defendant is relived by law of the requirement of giving security to respond in damages it shall nevertheless be treated for the purposes of this subdivision E(7) as if it had given such security if a private person so situated would have been required to give it.
(8)Restricted Appearance. An appearance to defend against an admiralty and maritime claim with respect to which there has issued process in rem, or process of attachment and garnishment whether pursuant to these Supplemental Rules or to Rule 4(e), may be expressly restricted to the defense of such claim, and in that event shall not constitute an appearance for the purposes of any other claim with respect to which such process is not available or has not been served
(9)Disposition of Property; Sales.
(a) Actions for Forfeitures. In any action in rem to enforce a forfeiture for violation of a statute of American Samoa or the United States the property shall be disposed of as provided by statute.
(b) Interlocutory Sales. If property that has been attached or arrested is perishable, or liable to deterioration, decay, or injury by being detained in custody pending the action, or if the expense of keeping the property is excessive or disproportionate, or if there is unreasonable delay in securing the release of property, the court, on application of any party or of the marshal, may order the property or any portion thereof to be sold; and the proceeds, or so much thereof as shall be adequate to satisfy any judgment, may be ordered brought into court to abide the event of the action; or the court may, on motion of the defendant or claimant, order delivery of the property to him, upon the giving of security in accordance with these rules.
(c) Sales; Proceeds. All sales of property shall be made by the marshal or his deputy, or other proper officer by the court where the marshal is a party in interest; and the proceeds of sale shall be forthwith paid into the registry of the court to be disposed of according to law.
(1)Time for Filing Complaint; Security. Not later than six months after his receipt of a claim in writing, any vessel owner may file a complaint in the trial division, as provided in subdivision (9) of this rule, for limitation of liability pursuant to statute. The owner (a) shall deposit with the court, for the benefit of claimants, a sum equal to the amount or value of his interest in the vessel and pending freight, or approved security therefor, and in addition such sums, or approved security therefor, as the court may from time to time fix as necessary to carry out the provisions of the statutes as amended; or (b) at his option shall transfer to a trustee to be appointed by the court, for the benefit of claimants, his interest in the vessel and pending freight, together with such sums, or approved security therefor, as the court may from time to time fix as necessary to carry out the provisions of the statutes as amended. The plaintiff shall also give security for costs and, if he elects to give security, for interest at the rate of 6 per cent per annum from the date of the security.
(2)Complaint. The complaint shall set forth the facts on the basis of which the right to limit liability is asserted, and all facts necessary to enable the court to determine the amount to which the owner's liability shall be limited. The complaint may demand exoneration from as well as limitation of liability. It shall state the voyage, if any, on which the demands sought to be limited arose, with the date and place of its termination; the amount of all demands including all unsatisfied liens or claims of lien, in contract or in tort or otherwise, arising on that voyage, so far as known to the plaintiff, and what actions and proceedings, if any, are pending thereon; whether the vessel was damaged, lost, or abandoned, and, if so, when and where; the value of the vessel at the close of the voyage or, in case of wreck, the value of her wreckage, strippings, or proceeds, if any and where and in whose possession they are; and the amount of any pending freight recovered or recoverable. If the plaintiff elects to transfer his interest in the vessel to a trustee, the complaint must further show any prior paramount liens thereon, and what voyages or trips, if any, she has made since the voyage or trip on which the claims sought to be limited arose, and any existing liens arising upon any such subsequent voyage or trip, with the amounts and causes thereof, and the names and addresses of the lienors, so far as known; and whether the vessel sustained any injury upon or by reason of such subsequent voyage or trip.
(3)Claims Against Owner; Injunction. Upon compliance by the owner with the requirements of subdivision (1) of this rule all claims and proceedings against the owner or his property with respect to the matter in question shall cease. On application of the plaintiff the court shall enjoin the further prosecution of any action or proceeding against the plaintiff or his property with respect to the matter in question shall cease. On application of the plaintiff the court shall enjoin the further prosecution of any action or proceeding against the plaintiff or his property with respect to any claim subject to limitation in the action.
(4)Notice to Claimants. Upon the owner's compliance with subdivision (1) of this rule the court shall issue a notice to all persons asserting claims with respect to which the complaint seeks limitation, admonishing them to file their respective claims with the clerk of the court and to serve on the attorneys for the plaintiff a copy thereof on or before a date to be named in the notice. The date so fixed shall not be less than 30 days after issuance of the notice. For cause shown, the court may enlarge the time within which claims may be failed. The notice shall be published in such newspaper or newspapers as the court may direct once a week for four successive weeks prior to the date fixed for the filing of claims. The plaintiff not later than the day of second publication shall also mail a copy of the notice to every person know to have made any claim against the vessel or the plaintiff arising out of the voyage or trip on which the claims sought to limited arose. In cases involving death a copy of such notice shall be mailed to the decedent at his last known address, and also to any person who shall be known to have made any claim on account of such death.
(5)Claims and Answer. Claims shall be filed and served on or before the date specified in the notice provided for in subdivision (4) of this rule. Each claim shall specify the facts upon which the claimant relies in support of his claim, the items thereof, and the dates on which the same occurred. If a claimant desires to contest either the right to exoneration from or the right to limitation of liability he shall file and serve an answer to the complaint unless his claim has included an answer.
(6)Information to be Given Claimants. Within 30 days after the date specified in the notice for filing claims, or within such time as the court thereafter may allow, the plaintiff shall mail to the attorney for each claimant (or if the claimant has no attorney to the claimant himself) a list setting forth (a) the name of each claimant, (b) the name and address of his attorney (if he is known to have one), (c) the nature of his claim, i.e., whether property loss, property damage, death, personal injury, etc., and (d) the amount thereof.
(7)Insufficiency of Fund or Security. Any claimant may by motion demand that the funds deposited in court or the security given by the plaintiff be increased on the ground that they are less than the value of the plaintiff's interest in the vessel pending freight. Thereupon the court shall cause due appraisement to be made of the value of the plaintiff's interest in the vessel and pending freight; and if the court finds that the deposit or security is either insufficient or excessive it shall order its increase or reduction. In like manner any claimant may demand that the deposit or security be increased on the ground that it is insufficient to carry out the provisions of the states relating to claims in respect of loss of life or bodily injury; and, after notice and hearing, the court may similarly order that the deposit or security be increased or reduced.
(8)Objections to Claims: Distribution of Fund. Any interested party may question or controvert any claim without filing an objection thereto. Upon determination of liability the fund deposited or secured, or the proceeds of the vessel and pending freight, shall be divided pro rata, subject to all relevant provisions of law, among the several claimants in proportion to the amounts of their respective claims, duly proved, saving, however, to all parties any priority to which they may be legally entitled.
(sample Alternative Writ)
HIGH COURT OF AMERICAN SAMOA
) C.A. No._______
) ALTERNATIVE WRIT
THE TERRITORY OF AMERICAN SAMOA
TO THE RESPONDENT _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ COURT OF AMERICAN SAMOA:
It appears from the verified petition on file in this action that you have State generally complaint against respondent, e.g, failed to perform your legal duty/abused your discretion/acted beyond your jurisdiction, etc.) by (E.g., denying petitioner's motion to quash service of summons) , and that petitioner, the party beneficially interested, has no plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
THEREFORE, you are commanded, (immediately on receipt of this writ/on or before .........., 19...) to (State specific acts or duties to be performed, e.g., vacate
your order or denial and to enter order granting petitioner's motion) , or
IN THE ALTERNATIVE, to show cause before this Court, on , 19 , why you have not done so.
LET THE FOREGOING WRIT ISSUE.
IT IS ORDERED that a copy of this Alternative Writ be served at least 15 days before the hearing on the above order to show cause.
RULES OF PROBATE PROCEDURE
C. Trial Court Rules (TCR)
IV. Rules of Probate Procedure
TABLE OF CONTENTS
IV. RULES OF PROBATE PROCEDURE
These rules are applicable to formal probate procedure provided in 40.0301-40.0333 ASCA, and not to informal (small estate) procedures provided in 40.0334-40.0342 ASCA. They supplement the statutory provisions governing administration of estates. They shall be known as the Rules of Probate Procedure and cited as __________________TCRPr.
Unless otherwise provided herein or by statute, the American Samoa Rules of Civil Procedure are applicable to all formal probate proceedings.
(1) "Executor" means the person named in a will to carry out the directions and requests in that will.
(2) "Administrator" means the person given the authority by the High Court to administer the estate of a deceased person who died interstate.
(3) "Administrator with will annexed" means the person given the authority by the High Court to administer the estate of a deceased person and to carry out the directions of the deceased person's will when the will has failed to name an executor or the named executor is dead, renounces has appointment, fails to qualify for appointment or has been removed.
(4) "Letters testamentary" means the formal instrument of authority and appointment given to an executor by the High Court empowering him to enter upon the discharge of his office as executor.
(5) "Letters of administration" means the formal instrument of authority and appointment given to an administrator by the High Court empowering him to enter upon the discharge of his office as administrator.
(6) "Interested person" includes heirs, devices, children, spouses, creditors, beneficiaries and any others having a property right in or claim against an estate. It also includes persons having priority for appointment as an executor or administrator and other fiduciaries representing interested persons and anyone who has filed with the High Court a demand for notice.
Formal probate as covered by these rules is commenced with the filing of verified petition for letters testamentary, letters of administration with will annexed or letters of administration.
A petition for letters testamentary must set forth the items listed in 40.0309 ASCA and:
(1) a statement of the interest of the applicant;
(2) the name, the date and place of birth and the domicile at time of death of the decedent;
(3) a statement setting forth any request for exemptions and allowances;
(4) a statement indicating whether applicant has received a demand for notice, or is aware of any demand for notice of any probate or appointment proceeding concerning the decedent that may have been filed in this Territory or elsewhere, and, as to any such demand, the names and addresses of the demandents;
(5) a statement that the applicant, to the best of his knowledge, believes the will to have been validly executed;
(6) a statement that after the exercise of reasonable diligence, the applicant is unaware of any instrument revoking the will; and
(7) a statement concerning those person, if any, who have a prior or equal right to appointment as executors renouncing their priority or concurring in the nomination of the person seeking appointment.
A petition for letters of administration with will annexed must set forth the items listed in 40.0309 ASCA, (1) through (6) listed in 5TCRPr above and:
(1) the name and address of the executor, if any, named in the will and the reasons why that person has not been or should not be appointed as executor; and
(2) a statement concerning those persons, if any, who have a prior or equal right to appointment as administrator with will annexed renouncing their priority or concurring in the nomination of the person seeking appointment.
A petition for letters of administration must set forth the items listed in 40.0309 ASCA, (1) through (4) listed in 5 TCRPr above and:
(1) a statement that after the exercise of reasonable diligence the applicant is unaware of any unrevoked testamentary instrument or why any such instrument of which he may be aware is not being probated; and
(2) a statement concerning those persons, if any, whohave a prior or equal right to appointment as administrator renouncing their priority or concurring in the nomination of the person seeking appointment.
The petition shall be filed in the Clerk's Office. The original will must be filed together with the petition in the case of petition for letters testamentary and petition for letters of administration with will annexed. The Clerk of Courts will place the original will in a secure and fire-proof location. In no event will the original will be placed in the case folder.
A formal hearing, at which the estate must be represented by the executor or administrator, must be held on: petitions for letters testamentary, letters of administration with will annexed and letters of administration; contested claims by creditors against the estate; and approval of final accounts. In addition, an executor or administrator may petition the Court, pursuant to a formal hearing, to construe any will or determine heirs, to adjudicate the final settlement and distribution of the estate, to terminate his appointment or to discharge him from further claims. Notice of such hearing must be served on all interested persons in the manner provided in 10 TCRPr below. The hearing date shall be set at the discretion of the High Court, taking into consideration the whereabouts of all interested persons or other contingencies.
(1) The applicant or his attorney shall cause notice to be given of the hearing to all
interested persons in the following manner:
(a) by any method which the person entitled to notice acknowledges receipt of a copy thereof at least fourteen days before the time set for the hearing; or
(b) by service by the Marshal of the High Court at least fourteen days before the time set for the hearing, as shown by the Marshal's certificate of service; and
(c) by publishing at least once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper having general circulation in the territory, the last publication of which is to be at least ten days before the time set for the hearing.
(2) Proof of the giving of notice, including an affidavit of publication, must be made on or before the hearing and filed in the proceeding.
(3) A person, including a guardian ad litem, guardian of the property, or other fiduciary, may waive notice by a writing signed by him or his attorney and filed in the proceeding.
To prove the valid execution of a will, the capacity of the testator to execute the will and the voluntariness of the execution, one of the attesting witnesses to the will must testify as to those facts at the hearing on the probate of the will. In the event that neither attesting witness is available, an affidavit may be substituted. If both attesting witnesses are dead or unlocatable, the Court may accept whatever extrinsic evidence as to the validity of the will as the Court deems appropriate.
Whenever property not included in the inventory required pursuant to 40.0321 ASCA comes into possession or knowledge of the executor or administrator, he must cause an inventory thereof to be filed within two months after the discovery. The making of such inventory may be enforced by the Court after a motion has been made by any interested person after notice to the executor or administrator by attachment of the property or by removal of the executor by attachment of the property or by removal of the executor or the administrator and the appointment of a new administrator.
The executor or administrator following his appointment shall open a checking account in a local bank as follows: "______________, Executor (Administrator) of the Estate of _________________, Deceased". In this account shall be placed all capital and income due the estate.
All disbursements to creditors must be based on proven claims in writing. Upon being satisfied of the creditors' claims, the executor or administrator shall pay the claimed amounts. Contested claims of creditors require a full hearing, as indicated above.
The Court may appoint a qualified and disinterested appraiser for the purpose of ascertaining the fair market value as of the date of the decedent's death of any asset the value of which appears to the Court to be subject to reasonable doubt. Different persons may be employed to appraise different types of assets included in the estate. The name and address of the appraiser shall be indicated on the appraisal with the items appraised and such must be filed with the Court. The cost of the appraisal shall be borne by the estate.
Upon the filing of a final account by an executor or administrator, the Court in its discretion may appoint a master to approve the final accounts. The master shall be paid such fees as the Court deems reasonable.
RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
C. Trial Court Rules (TCR)
II. Rules of Criminal Procedure
TABLE OF CONTENTS
RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE (TCRCrP)
These rules govern the procedure in all criminal proceedings in the courts of American Samoa and they shall be known as the Rules of Criminal Procedure and cited as TCRCP.
These rules are intended to provide for the just determination of every criminal proceeding. They shall be construed to secure simplicity in procedure, fairness in administration and the elimination of unjustifiable expenses and delay.
The complaint is a written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged. It shall be made upon oath before a district court judge or justice of the High Court. The prosecution of all criminal offenses must be commenced by complaints in the district court.
(a) Issuance. If it appears from the complaint, or from an affidavit or affidavits filed with the complaint, that there is probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed and that the defendant has committed it, a warrant for the arrest of the defendant shall issue to any officer authorized by law to execute it. Upon the request of the attorney for the government a summons instead of a warrant shall issue. More than one warrant or summons may issue on the same complaint. If a defendant fails to appear in response to the summons, a warrant shall issue.
(b) Probable Cause. The finding of probable cause may be based upon hearsay evidence in whole or in part.
(1) Warrant. The warrant shall be signed by the district court judge or justice of the High Court and shall contain the name of the defendant or, if his name is unknown, any name or description by which he can be identified with reasonable certainty. It shall describe the offense charged in the complaint. It shall command that the defendant be arrested and brought before the nearest available judge or justice at the next sitting of the district court or the High Court.
(2) Summons. The summons shall be in the same form as the warrant except that it shall summon the defendant to appear before the district court or the High Court at a stated time and place.
(d) Execution or Service; and Return.
(1) By Whom. The Warrant shall be executed by a marshal, police officer or other officer authorized by law. The summons may be served by any person authorized to serve a summons in a civil action.
(2) Territorial Limits. The warrant may be executed or the summons may be served at any place within the jurisdiction of American Samoa.
(3) Manner. The warrant shall be executed by the arrest of the defendant. The officer need not have the warrant in his possession at the time of arrest, but upon request he shall show the warrant to the defendant as soon as possible. If the officer does not have the warrant in his possession at the time of the arrest, he shall then inform the defendant of the offense charged and of the fact that a warrant has been issued. The summons shall be served upon a defendant by delivering a copy to him personally, or by leaving it at his dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein and by mailing a copy of the summons to the defendant's last known address if known.
(4) Return. The officer executing a warrant shall make return thereof to the district court judge before whom the defendant is brought pursuant to 5 TCRCrP. At the request of the attorney for the government any unexecuted warrant shall be returned to the district court judge by whom it was issued and shall be canceled by him. On or before the return day the person to whom a summons was delivered for service shall make return thereof to the district court judge before whom the summons is returnable. At the request of the attorney for the government made at any time while the complaint is pending, a warrant returned unexecuted and not canceled or a summons returned unserved or a duplicate thereof may be delivered by the district court judge to the marshal or other authorized person for execution or service.
(a) In General. An officer making an arrest under a warrant issued upon a complaint or any person making an arrest without a warrant shall take the arrest person without unnecessary delay before the next sitting of the district court. If a person arrested without a warrant is brought before the district court, a complaint shall be filed forthwith which shall comply with the requirements of 2(a) TCRCrP with respect to the showing of probable cause. When a person, arrested with or without a warrant or given a summons, appears initially before the district court, the district court shall proceed in accordance with the applicable subdivisions of this rule.
(b) If the charge against the defendant is triable by the district court, the district court shall proceed in accordance with these rules and any applicable statutes.
(c) Offenses Not Triable by a District Court Judge. If the charge against the defendant is not triable by a district court judge, the defendant shall not be called upon to plead. The district court judge shall inform the defendant of the complaint against him and of any affidavit filed therewith, of his right to retain counsel, of his right to request the assignment of counsel if he is unable to obtain counsel, and of the general circumstances under which he may secure pretrial releases. He shall inform the defendant that he is not required to make a statement and that any statement made by him may be used against him. The judge shall also inform the defendant of his right to a preliminary examination. He shall allow the defendant reasonable time and opportunity to consult counsel and shall admit the defendant to bail as provided by statute or in these rules.
A defendant is entitled to a preliminary examination, unless waived, when charged with any offense other than a misdemeanor which is to be tried by the High Court. If the defendant waives preliminary examination, the district court judge shall forthwith hold him to answer in the High Court. If the defendant does not waive the preliminary examination, the judge shall schedule a preliminary examination. Such examination shall be held within a reasonable time but in any event not later than 10 days following the initial appearance if the defendant is in custody and no later than 20 days if he is not in custody. With the consent of the defendant and upon a showing of good cause, taking into account the public interest in the prompt disposition of criminal cases, time limits specified in this subdivision may be extended one or more times by the district court judge. In the absence of such consent by the defendant, time limits may be extended by the district court judge only upon a showing that extraordinary circumstances exist and that delay is indispensable to the interests of justice.
(a) Probable Cause Finding. If from the evidence it appears that there is probable cause to believe than an offense has been committed and that the defendant committed it, the district court judge shall forthwith hold him to answer in the High Court. The finding of probable cause may be based upon hearsay evidence in whole or in part. The defendant may cross-examine witnesses against him and may introduce evidence in his own behalf. Objections to evidence on the ground that it was acquired by unlawful means are not properly made at the preliminary examination. Motions to suppress must be made to the High Court as provided in 12 TCRCrP.
(b) Discharge of Defendant. If from the evidence it appears that there is not probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed or that the defendant committed it, the district court judge shall dismiss the complaint and discharge the defendant. The discharge of the defendant shall not preclude the government from instituting a subsequent prosecution for the same offense.
(c) Records. After concluding the proceeding the district court judge shall transmit forthwith to the clerk of court all papers in the proceeding. The district court judge shall promptly make or cause to be made a record or summary of such proceeding.
(1) On timely application to a district court judge, the attorney for a defendant in a felony case to be tried before the High Court may be given the opportunity to have the recording of the hearing on preliminary examination made available for his information in connection with any further hearing or in connection with his preparation for trial. The district court may appoint the place for and define the conditions under which such opportunity may be afforded counsel.
(2) On application of a defendant addressed to the High Court or any justice thereof, an order may issue that the district court judge make available a copy of the transcript, or of a portion thereof, to defense counsel. Such order shall provide for prepayment of costs of such transcript by the defendant unless the defendant makes a sufficient affidavit that he is unable to pay or to give security therefore, in which case the transcript shall be paid for by the Court from available funds. Counsel for the government may move also that a copy of the transcript, in whole or in part, be made available to it, for good cause shown, and an order may be entered granting such motion in whole or in part, on appropriate terms, except that the government need not prepay costs nor furnish security therefor.
(a) Use of Information. All felony offenses shall be initiated in the High Court by the filing of an information.
(c) Nature and Contents.
(1) In General. The information shall be a plain, concise and definite written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged. It shall be signed by the attorney for the government. It need not contain a formal commencement, a formal conclusion or any other matter not necessary to such statement. Allegations made in one count may be incorporated by reference in another count. It may be alleged in a single count that the means by which the defendant committed the offense are unknown or that he committed it by one or more specified means. The information shall state for each count the official or customary citation of the statute, rule, regulation or other provision of law which the defendant is alleged therein to have violated.
(2) Criminal Forfeiture. No judgment of forfeiture may be entered in a criminal proceeding unless the information shall allege the extent of the interest or property subject to forfeiture.
(3) Harmless Error. Error in the citation or its omission shall not be ground for dismissal of the information or for reversal of a conviction if the error or omission did not mislead the defendant to his prejudice.
(d) Surplusage. The court on motion of the defendant may strike surplusage from the information.
(e) Amendment of Information. The court may permit an information to be amended at any time before verdict or finding if no additional or different offense is charged and if substantial rights of the defendant are not prejudiced.
(f) Bill of Particulars. The court may direct the filing of a bill of particulars. A motion for a bill of the filing of a bill of particulars. A motion for a bill of particulars may be made before arraignment or within ten days after arraignment or at such later time as the court may permit. A bill of particulars may be amended at any time subject to such conditions as justice requires.
(a) Joinder of Offenses. Two or more offenses may be charged in the same information in a separate count for each offense if the offenses charged, whether felonies or misdemeanors or both, are of the same or similar character or are based on the same act or transaction or on two or more acts or transactions connected together or constituting parts of a common scheme or plan.
(b) Joinder of Defendants. Two or more defendants may be charged in the same information if they are alleged to have participated in the same act or transaction or in the same series of acts or transactions constituting an offense or offenses. Such defendants may be charged in one or more counts together or separately and all of the defendants need not be charged in each count.
Arraignments shall be conducted in open court and shall consist of reading the complaint or information to the defendant or stating to him the substance of the charge and calling on him to plead thereto. He shall be given a copy of the complaint or information before he is called upon to plead.
(a) Alternatives. A defendant may plead not guilty, guilty, or nolo contendere. If a defendant refuses to plead or if a defendant corporation fails to appear, the court shall enter a plea of not guilty.
(b) Nolo Contendere. A defendant may plead nolo contendere only with the consent of the court. Such a plea shall be accepted by the court only after due consideration of the views of the parties and the interest of the public in the effective administration of justice.
(c) Advice to Defendant. Before accepting a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, the court must address the defendant personally in open court and inform him of, and determine that he understands, the following:
(1) the nature of the charge to which the plea is offered, the mandatory minimum penalty provided by law, if any, and the maximum possible penalty provided by law; and
(2) if the defendant is not represented by an attorney, that he has the right to be represented by an attorney at every stage of the proceeding against him and, if necessary, one will be appointed to represent him; and
(3) that he has the right to plead not guilty or to persist in that plea if it has already been made, and, if applicable, that he has the right to be tried by a jury and at that trial has the right to the assistance of counsel, the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses against him, and the right not to be compelled to incriminate himself; and
(4) that if he pleads guilty or nolo contendere there will not be a further trial of any kind, so that by pleading guilty or nolo contendere he waives the right to a trial; and
(5) that if he pleads guilty or nolo contendere, the court may ask him questions about the offense to which he has pleaded, and if he answers these questions under oath, on the record, and in the presence of counsel, his answers may later be used against him in a prosecution for perjury or false statement.
(d) Insuring That the Plea is Voluntary. The court shall not accept a plea of guilty or nolo contendere without first, by addressing the defendant personally in open court, determining that the plea is voluntary and not the result of force or threats or of promises apart from a plea agreement. The court shall also inquire as to whether the defendant's willingness to plead guilty or nolo contendere results from prior discussions between the attorney for the government and the defendant or his attorney.
(e) Plea Agreement Procedure.
(1) In General. The attorney for the government and the attorney for the defendant or the defendant when acting pro se may engage in discussions with a view toward reaching an agreement that, upon the entering of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a charged offense or to a lesser or related offense, the attorney for the government will do any of the following:
(A) move for dismissal of other charges; or
(B) make a recommendation, or agree not to oppose the defendant's request, for a particular sentence, with the understanding that such recommendation or request shall not be binding upon the court; or
(C) agree that a specific sentence is the appropriate disposition of the case.
The court shall not participate in any such discussions.
(2) Notice of Such Agreement. If a plea agreement has been reached by the parties, the court shall, on the record, require the disclosure of the agreement in open court or, on a showing of good cause, in camera, at the time the plea is offered. If the agreement is of the type specified in subdivision (e)(1)(A) or (C), the court may accept or reject the agreement, or may defer its decision as to the acceptance or rejection until there has been an opportunity to consider the presentence report. If the agreement is of the type specified in subdivision (e)(1)(A) or (C), the court may accept or reject the agreement, or may defer its decision as to the acceptance or rejection until there has been an opportunity to consider the presentence report. If the agreement is of the type specified in subdivision (e)(1)(B), the court shall advise the defendant that if the court does not accept the recommendation or request the defendant nevertheless has no right to withdraw his plea.
(3) Acceptance of a Plea Agreement. If the court accepts the plea agreement, the court shall inform the defendant that it will embody in the judgment and sentence the disposition provided for in the plea agreement.
(4) Rejection of a Plea Agreement. If the court rejects the plea agreement, the court shall, on the record, inform the parties of this fact, advise the defendant personally in open court or, on a showing of good cause, in camera, that the court is not bound by the plea agreement, afford the defendant the opportunity to then withdraw his plea, and advise the defendant that if he persists in his guilty plea or plea of nolo contendere the disposition of the case may be less favorable to the defendant than that contemplated by the plea agreement.
(5) Time of Plea Agreement Procedure. Except for good cause shown, notification to the court of the existence of a plea agreement shall be given at the arraignment or at such other time, prior to trial, as may be fixed by the court.
(6) Inadmissibility of Pleas, Offers of Pleas, and Related Statements. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, evidence of a plea of guilty, later withdrawn, or a plea of nolo contendere, or of an offer to plead guilty or nolo contendere to the crime charged or any other crime, or of statements made in connection with, and relevant to, any of the foregoing pleas or offers, is not admissible in any civil or criminal proceeding against the person who made the plea or offer. However, evidence of a statement made in connection with, and relevant to, a plea of guilty, later withdrawn, a plea of nolo contendere, or an offer to plead guilty or nolo contendere to the crime charged or any other crime, is admissible in a criminal proceeding for perjury or false statement if the statement was made by the defendant under oath, on the record, and in the presence of counsel.
(f) Determining Accuracy of Plea. Notwithstanding the acceptance of a plea of guilty, the court should not enter a judgment upon such plea without making such inquiry as shall satisfy it that there is a factual basis for the plea.
(g) Record of Proceedings. A verbatim record of the proceedings at which the defendant enters a plea shall be made and, if there is a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, the record shall include, without limitation, the court's advice to the defendant, the inquiry into the voluntariness of the plea including any plea agreement, and the inquiry into the accuracy of a guilty plea.
(a) Pleadings and Motions. Pleadings in criminal proceedings shall be the complaint and information, and the pleas of not guilty, guilty and nolo contendere. All other pleas and demurrers and motions to quash are abolished, and defenses and objections raised before trial which heretofore could have been raised by one or more of them shall be raised only by motion to dismiss or to grant appropriate relief, as provided in these rules.
(b) Pretrial Motions. Any defense, objection, or request which is capable of determination without the trial of the general issue may be raised before trial by motion. Motions may be written or oral at the discretion of the judge. The following must be raised prior to trial:
(1) Defenses and objections based on defects in the institution of the prosecution; or
(2) Defenses and objections based on defects in the information (other than that it fails to show jurisdiction in the court or to charge an offense which objections shall be noticed by the court at any time during the pendency of the proceedings); or
(3) Motions to suppress evidence; or
(4) Requests for discovery under Rule 2.16; or
(5) Requests for a severance of charges or defendants under 14 TCRCrP.
(c) Motion Date.
The court may, at the time of the arraignment or as soon thereafter as practicable, set a time for the making of pretrial motions or requests and, if required, a later date of hearing.
(d) Notice by the Government of the Intention to Use Evidence.
(1) At the Discretion of the Government. At the arraignment or as soon thereafter as is practicable, the government may give notice to the defendant of its intention to use specified evidence at trial in order to afford the defendant an opportunity to raise objections to such evidence prior to trial under subdivision (b)(3) of this rule.
(2) At the Request of the Defendant. At the arraignment or as soon thereafter as is practicable the defendant may, in order to afford an opportunity to move to suppress evidence under subdivision (b)(3) of this rule, request notice of the government's intention to use (in its evidence in chief at trial) any evidence which the defendant may be entitled to discover under 16 TCRCrP subject to any relevant limitations prescribed in 16 TCRCrP.
(e) Ruling on Motion. A motion made before trial shall be determined before trial unless the court, for good cause, orders that it be deferred for determination at the trial of the general issue or until after verdict, but no such determination shall be deferred if a party's right to appeal is adversely affected. Where factual issues are involved in determining a motion, the court shall state its essential findings on the record.
(f) Effect of Failure to Raise Defenses or Objections. Failure by a party to raise defenses or objections or to make requests which must be made prior to trial, at the time set by the court pursuant to subdivision (c), or prior to any extension thereof made by the court, shall constitute waiver thereof, but the court for cause shown may grant relief from the waiver.
(g) Records. A verbatim record shall be made of all proceedings at the hearing, including such findings of fact and conclusions of law as are made orally.
(h) Effect of Determination. If the court grants a motion based on a defect in the institution of the prosecution or in the information, it may also order that the defendant be continued in custody or that his bail be continued for a specified time pending the filling of a new information. Nothing in this rule shall be deemed to affect the provisions of any Act of the Fono relating to periods of limitations.
(a) Notice by Defendant. Upon written demand of the attorney for the government stating the time, date, and place at which the alleged offense was committed, the defendant shall serve within ten days, or at such different time as the court may direct, upon the attorney for the government a written notice of his intention to offer a defense of alibi. Such notice by the defendant shall state the specific place or places at which the defendant claims to have been at the time of the alleged offense and the names and addresses of the witnesses upon whom he intends to rely to establish such alibi.
(b) Disclosure of Information and Witness. Within ten days thereafter, but in no event less than ten days before trial, unless the court otherwise directs, the attorney for the government shall serve upon the defendant or his attorney a written notice stating the names and addresses of the witnesses upon whom the government intends to rely to establish the defendant's presence at the scene of the alleged offense and any other witnesses to be relied on to rebut testimony of any of the defendant's alibi witnesses.
(c) Continuing Duty to Disclose. If prior to or during trial, a party learns of an additional witness whose identity, if known, should have been included in the information furnished under subdivision (a) or (b), the party shall promptly notify the other party or his attorney of the existence and identity of such additional witness.
(d) Failure to Comply. Upon the failure of either party to comply with the requirements of this rule, the court may exclude the testimony of any undisclosed witness offered by such party as to the defendant's absence from or presence at, the scene of the alleged offense. This rule shall not limit the right of the defendant to testify in his own behalf.
(e) Exceptions. For good cause shown, the court may grant an exception to any of the requirements of sub-divisions (a) through (d) of this rule.
(f) Inadmissibility of Withdrawn Alibi. Evidence of an intention to rely upon an alibi defense, later withdrawn, or of statements made in connection with such intention, is not admissible in any civil or criminal proceeding against the person who gave notice of the intention.
(a) Defense of Insanity. If a defendant intends to rely upon the defense of insanity at the time of the alleged crime, he shall, within the time provided for the filing of pretrial motions or at such later time as the court may direct, notify the attorney for the government in writing of such intention and file a copy of such notice with the clerk. If there is a failure to comply with the requirements of this subdivision, insanity may not be raised as a defense. The court may for cause shown allow late filing of the notice or grant additional time to the parties to prepare for trial or make such other order as may be appropriate.
(b) Mental Disease or Defect Inconsistent with the Mental Element Required for the Offense Charged. If a defendant intends to introduce expert testimony relating to a mental disease, defect, or other condition bearing upon the issue of whether he had the mental state required for the offense charged, he shall, within the time provided for the filing of pretrial motions or at such later time as the court may direct, notify the attorney for the government in writing of such intention and file a copy of such notice with the clerk. The court may for cause shown allow late filing of the notice or grant additional time to the parties to prepare for trial or make such other order as may be appropriate.
(c) Psychiatric Examination. In an appropriate case the court may, upon motion of the attorney for the government, order the defendant to submit to a psychiatric examination by a psychiatrist designated for this purpose in the order of the court. No statement made by the accused in the course of any examination provided for by this rule, whether the examination shall be with or without the consent of the accused, shall be admitted in evidence against the accused on the issue of guilt in any criminal proceeding.
(d) Failure to Comply. If there is a failure to give notice when required by subdivision (b) of this rule or to submit to an examination when ordered under subdivision (c) of this rule, the court may exclude the testimony of any expert witness offered by the defendant on the issue of his mental state.
The court may order two or more complaints or information to be tried together if the offenses, and the defendants if there is more than one, could have been joined in a single complaint or information. The procedure shall be the same as if the prosecution were under such single complaint or information.
If it appears that a defendant or the government is prejudiced by a joinder of offenses or of defendants in a complaint or an information or by such joinder for trial together, the court may order an election or separate trials of counts, grant a severance of defendants or provide whatever other relief justice requires. In ruling on a motion by a defendant for severance the court may order the attorney for the government to deliver to the court for inspection in camera any statements or confessions made by the defendants which the government intends to introduce in evidence at the trial.
(a) When Taken. Whenever due to exceptional circumstances of the case it is in the interest of justice that the testimony of a prospective witness of a party be taken and preserved for use at trial, the court may upon motion of such party and notice to the parties order that testimony of such witness be taken by deposition and that any designated book, paper, document, record, recording, or other material not privileged, be produced at the same time and place. If a witness is committed for failure to give bail to appear to testify at a trial or hearing, the court on written motion of the witness and upon notice to the parties may direct that his deposition be taken. After the deposition has been subscribed the court may discharge the witness.
(b) Notice of Taking. The party at whose instance a deposition is to be taken shall give to every party reasonable written notice of the time and place for taking the deposition. The notice shall state the name and address of each person to be examined. On motion of a party upon whom the notice is served, the court for cause shown may extend or shorten the time or change the place for taking the deposition. The officer having custody of a defendant shall be notified of the time and place set for the examination and shall, unless the defendant waives in writing the right to be present, produce him at the examination and keep him in the presence of the witness during the examination, unless, after being warned by the court that disruptive conduct will cause him to be removed from the place of the taking of the deposition, he persists in conduct which is such as to justify his being excluded from that place. A defendant not in custody shall have the right to be present at the examination upon request subject to such terms as may be fixed by the court, but his failure, absent good cause shown, to appear after notice and tender of expenses in accordance with subdivision (c) of this rule shall constitute a waiver of that right and of any objection to the taking and use of the deposition based upon that right.
(c) Payment of Expense. Whenever a deposition is taken at the instance of the government, or whenever a deposition is taken at the instance of a defendant who is unable to bear the expenses of the taking of the deposition, the court may direct that the expense of travel and subsistence of the defendant and his attorney for attendance at the examination and the cost of the transcript of the deposition shall be paid by the government.
(d) How Taken. Subject to such additional conditions as the court shall provide, a deposition shall be taken and field in the manner provided in civil actions except as otherwise provided in these rules, provided that (1) in no event shall a deposition be taken of a party defendant without his consent, and (2) the scope and manner of examination and cross-examination shall be such as would be allowed in the trial itself. The government shall make available to the defendant or his counsel for examination and use at the taking of the deposition any statement of the witness being deposed which is in the possession of the government and to which the defendant would be entitled at the trial.
(e) Use. At the trial or upon any hearing, a part or all of a deposition, so far as otherwise admissible under the rules of evidence, may be used as substantive evidence if the witness is unavailable, as unavailability is defined in 804(a) TCREv, testimony at the trial or hearing inconsistent with or the witness gives his deposition. Any deposition may also be used by any party for the purpose of contradicting or impeaching the testimony of the deponent as a witness. If only a part of a deposition is offered in evidence by a party, an adverse party may require him to offer all of it which is relevant to the part offered and any party may offer other parts.
(f) Objections to Deposition Testimony. Objections to deposition testimony or evidence or parts thereof and the grounds for the objection shall be stated at the time of the taking of the deposition.
(g) Deposition by Agreement Not Precluded. Nothing in this rule shall preclude the taking of a deposition, orally or upon written questions, or the use of a deposition, by agreement of the parties with the consent of the court.
(a) Disclosure of Evidence by the Government.
(1) Information Subject to Disclosure.
(A) Statement of Defendant. Upon request of a defendant the government shall permit the defendant to inspect and copy or photograph; any relevant written or recorded statements made by the defendant, or copies thereof, within the possession, custody or control of the government, the existence of which is known, or by the exercise of due diligence may become known, to the attorney for the government; and the substance of any oral statement which the government intends to offer in evidence at the trial made by the defendant whether before or after arrest in response to interrogation by any person when known to the defendant to be a government agent; where the defendant is a corporation, partnership, association or labor union, the court may grant the defendant, upon its motion, discovery of relevant recorded testimony of any witness who (1) was, at the time of his testimony, so situated as an officer or employee as to have been able legally to bind the defendant in respect to conduct constituting the offense, or (2) was, at the time of the offense, personally involved in the alleged conduct constituting the offense and so situated as an officer or employee as to have been able legally to bind the defendant in respect to that alleged conduct in which he was involved.
(B) Defendant's Prior Record. Upon request of the defendant, the government shall furnish to the defendant such copy of his prior criminal record, if any, as is within the possession, custody, or control of the government, the existence of which is known, or by the exercise of due diligence may become known, to the attorney for the government.
(C) Documents and Tangible Objects. Upon request of the defendant the government shall permit the defendant to inspect and copy or photograph books, papers, documents, photographs, tangible objects, buildings or places, or copies or portions thereof, which are within the possession, custody or control of the government, and which are material to the preparation of his defense or are intended for use by the government as evidence in chief at the trial, or ere obtained from or belong to the defendant.
(D) Reports of Examination and Tests. Upon request of a defendant the government shall permit the defendant to inspect and copy or photograph any results or reports of physical or mental examinations, and of scientific tests or experiments, or copies thereof, which are within the possession, custody, or control of the government, the existence of which is known, or by the exercise of due diligence may become known, to the attorney for the government, and which are material to the preparation of the defense or are intended for use by the government as evidence in chief at the trial.
(2) Information Not Subject to Disclosure. Except as provided in paragraphs (A), (B), and (D) of subdivision (a) (1), this rule does not authorize the discovery or inspection of reports, memorandum, or other internal government documents made by the attorney for the government or other government agents in connection with the investigation or prosecution of the cases, or of statements made by government witnesses or prospective government witnesses.
(b) Disclosure of Evidence by the Defendant.
(1) Information Subject to Disclosure.
(A) Documents and Tangible Objects. If the defendant requests disclosure under subdivision (a)(1)(C) or (D) of this rule, upon compliance with such request by the government, the defendant, on request of the government shall permit the government to inspect and copy or photograph books, papers, documents, photographs, tangible objects, or copies or portions thereof, which are within the possession, custody, or control of the defendant and which the defendant intends to introduce as evidence in chief at the trial.
(B) Reports of Examinations and Tests. If the defendant requests disclosure under subdivision (a)(1)(C) or (D) of this rule, upon compliance with such request by the government, the defendant, on request of the government, shall permit the government to inspect and copy or photograph any results or reports of physical or mental examinations and of scientific tests or experiments made in connection with the particular case, or copies thereof, within the possession or control of the defendant, which the defendant intends to introduce as evidence in chief at the trial or which were prepared by a witness whom the defendant intends to call at the trial when the results or reports relate to his testimony.
(2) Information Not Subject to Disclosure. Except as to scientific or medical reports, this subdivision does not authorize the discovery or inspection of reports, memoranda, or other internal defense documents made by the defendant, or his attorneys or agents in connection with the investigation or defense of the case, or of statements made by the defendant, or by government or defense witnesses, or by prospective government or defense witnesses, to the defendant, his agents or attorneys.
(c) Continuing Duty to Disclose. If, prior to or during trial, a party discovers additional evidence or material previously requested or ordered, which is subject to discovery or inspection under this rule, he shall promptly notify the other party or his attorney or the court of the existence of the additional evidence or material.
(d) Regulation of Discovery.
(1) Protective and Modifying Orders. Upon a sufficient showing the court may at any time order that the discovery or inspection be denied, restricted, or deferred, or make such other order as is appropriate. Upon motion by a party, the court may permit the party to make such showing, in whole or in part, in the form of a written statement to be inspected by the judge alone. If the court enters an order granting relief following such an ex parte showing, the entire text of the party's statement shall be sealed and preserved in the records of the court to be made available to the appellate court in the event of an appeal.
(2) Failure to Comply with a Request. If at any time during the course of the proceedings it is brought to the attention of the court that a party has failed to comply with this rule, the court may order such party to permit the discovery or inspection, grant a continuance, or prohibit the party from introducing evidence not disclosed, or it may enter such other order as it deems just under the circumstances. The court may specify the time, place and manner of making the discovery and inspection and may prescribe such terms and conditions as are just.
(e) Alibi Witnesses. Discovery of alibi witnesses is governed by 12.1 TCRCrP.
(a) For Attendance of Witnesses; Form; Issuance. A subpoena shall be issued by the clerk under the seal of the court. It shall state the name of the court and the title, if any, of the proceeding, and shall command each person to whom it is directed to attend and give testimony at the time and place specified therein. The clerk shall issue a subpoena, signed and sealed but otherwise in blank to a party requesting it, who shall fill in the blanks before it is served.
(b) Defendants Unable to Pay. The court shall order at any time that a subpoena be issued for service on a named witness upon an ex parte application of a defendant upon a satisfactory showing that the defendant is financially unable to pay the fees of the witness and that the presence of the witness is necessary to an adequate defense. If the court orders the subpoena to be issued the costs incurred by the process and the fees of the witness so subpoenaed shall be paid in the same manner in which similar costs and fees are paid in case of a witness subpoenaed in behalf of the government.
(c) For Production of Documentary Evidence and of Objects. A subpoena may also command the person to whom it is directed to produce the books, papers, documents or other objects designated therein. The court on motion made promptly may quash or modify the subpoena if compliance would be unreasonable or oppressive. The court may direct that books, papers, documents or objects designated in the subpoena be produced before the court at a time prior to the trial or prior to the time when they are to be offered in evidence and may upon their production permit the books, papers, documents or objects or portions thereof to be inspected by the parties and their attorneys.
(d) Service. A subpoena may be served by the marshal, by his deputy or by any other person who is not a party and who is not less than 18 years of age. Service of a subpoena shall be made by delivering a copy thereof to the person named.
(e) Place of Service.
(3) In American Samoa. A subpoena requiring the attendance of a witness at a hearing or trial may be served at any place within American Samoa.
(f) For Taking Deposition; Place of Examination.
(1) Issuance. An order to take a deposition authorizes the issuance by the clerk of the court subpoenas for the persons named or described therein.
(2) Place. The witness whose deposition is to be taken may be required by subpoena to attend at any place designated by the trial court, taking into account the convenience of the witness and the parties.
(g) Contempt. Failure by any person without adequate excuse to obey a subpoena served upon him may be deemed a contempt of the court from which the subpoena issued.
(h) Information Not Subject to Subpoena. Statements made by witnesses or prospective witnesses may not be subpoenaed from the government or the defendant under this rule, but shall be subject to production only in accordance with the provisions of 26.2 TCRCrP.
At any time after the filing of the information the court upon motion of any party or upon its own motion may order one or more conferences to consider such matters as will promote a fair and expeditious trial. At the conclusion of a conference the court shall prepare and file a memorandum of the matters agreed upon. No admissions made by the defendant or his attorney at the conference shall be used against the defendant unless the admissions are reduced to writing and signed by the defendant and his attorney. This rule shall not be invoked in the case of a defendant who is not represented by counsel.
The government must proof that the crime of which the defendant is accused was committed in the Territory.
(a) Trial by Jury. Cases required to be tried by jury shall be so tried unless the defendant waives a jury trial in writing with the approval of the court.
(b) Juries shall be of six qualified persons.
(c) Trial Without a Jury. In a case tried without a jury the court shall make a general finding and shall in addition, on request made before the general finding, find the facts specially. Such findings may be oral. If an opinion or memorandum of decision is filed, it will be sufficient if the findings of fact appear therein.
(a) Examination. Voir dire of prospective jurors shall be conducted by the Court. The court may permit the defendant or his attorney and the attorney for the government to supplement the examination by such further inquiry as it deems proper or shall itself pose to the prospective jurors such additional questions submitted by the parties or their attorneys as it deems proper.
(b) Peremptory challenges. In the High Court each side is entitled to 6 peremptory challenges. In the District Court each side is entitled to 3 peremptory challenges. If there is more than one defendant, the court may allow the defendants additional peremptory challenges and permit them to be exercised separately or jointly in which cases the prosecution will be entitled to an equal number of challenges.
(c) Alternate Jurors. The court may direct that not more than 3 jurors in addition to the regular jury be called and impanelled to sit as alternate jurors. Alternate jurors in the order in which they are called shall replace jurors who, prior to the time the jury retires to consider its verdict, become or are found to be unable or disqualified to perform their duties. Alternate jurors shall be drawn in the same manner, shall have the same qualifications, shall be subject to the same examination and challenges, shall take the same oath and shall have the same functions, powers, facilities and privilege as the regular jurors. An alternate juror who does not replace a regular juror shall be discharged after the jury retires to consider its verdict. Each side is entitled to 1 peremptory challenge in addition to those otherwise allowed by law if 1 or 2 alternate jurors are to be impanelled and 2 peremptory challenges if 3 alternate jurors are to be impanelled. The additional peremptory challenges may be used against an alternate juror only, and the other peremptory challenges allowed by these rules may not be used against an alternate juror.
Effective May 14, 1984
(a) During Trial. If by reason of death, sickness or other disability the judge before whom a jury trial has commenced is unable to proceed with the trial, any other judge regularly sitting in or assigned to the court, upon certifying that he has familiarized himself with the record of the trial, may proceed with and finish the trial.
(b) After Verdict or Finding of Guilt. If by reason of absence, death, sickness or other disability the judge before whom the defendant has been tried is unable to perform the duties to be performed by the court after a verdict or finding of guilt, any other judge regularly sitting in or assigned to the court may perform those duties; but if such other judge is satisfied that he cannot perform those duties because he did not preside at the trial or for any other reason, he may in his discretion grant a new trial.
In all trials the testimony of witnesses shall be taken orally in open court, unless otherwise provided by an Act of the Fono or by these rules, the American Samoa Rules of Evidence, or other rules adopted by the High Court.
A party who intends to raise an issue concerning the law of a foreign country shall give reasonable written notice. The court, in determining foreign law, may consider any relevant material or source, including testimony, whether or not submitted by a party or admissible under the American Samoa Rules of Evidence. The court's determination shall be treated as a ruling on a question of law.
An official record or an entry therein or the lack of such a record or entry may be proved in the same manner as in civil actions.
(a) Motion Before Submission to Jury. Motions for directed verdict are abolished and motions for judgment of acquittal shall be used in their place. The court on motion of a defendant or of its own motion shall order the entry of judgment of acquittal of one or more offenses charged in the information after the evidence on either side is closed if the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction of such offense or offenses. If a defendant's motion for judgment at the close of the evidence offered by the government is not granted, the defendant may offer evidence without having reserved the right.
(b) Reservation of Decision on Motion. If a motion for judgment of acquittal is made at the close of all the evidence, the court may reserve decision on the motion, submit the case to the jury and decide the motion either before the jury returns a verdict or after it returns a verdict of guilty or is discharged without having returned a verdict.
(c) Motion After Discharge of Jury. If the jury returns a verdict of guilty or is discharged without having returned a verdict, a motion for judgment of acquittal may be made or renewed within 7 days after the jury is discharged or within such further time as the court may fix during the 7-day period. If a verdict of guilty is returned the court may on such motion set aside the verdict and enter judgment of acquittal. If no verdict is returned the court may enter judgment of acquittal. It shall not be necessary to the making of such a motion that a similar motion has been made prior to the submission of the case to the jury.
After the closing of evidence the prosecution shall open the argument. The defense shall be permitted to reply. The prosecution shall then be permitted to reply in rebuttal.
At the close of the evidence or at such earlier time during the trial as the court reasonably directs, any party may file written request that the court instruct the jury on the law as set forth in the requests. At the same time copies of such requests shall be furnished to adverse parties. The court shall inform counsel of its proposed action upon the requests prior to their arguments to the jury, but the court shall instruct the jury after the arguments are completed. No party may assign as error any portion of the charge or omission therefrom unless he objects thereto before the jury retires to consider its verdict, stating distinctly the matter to which he objects and the grounds of his objection. Opportunity shall be given to make the objection out of the hearing of the jury and, on request of any party, out of the presence of the jury.
(a) Return. The verdict shall be unanimous. It shall be returned by the jury to the judge in open court.
(b) Several Defendants. If there are two or more defendants, the jury at any time during its deliberations may return a verdict or verdicts with respect to a defendant or defendants as to whom it has agreed; if the jury cannot agree with respect to all, the defendant as to whom it does not agree may be tried again.
(c) Conviction of Lesser Offense. The defendant may be found guilty of an offense necessarily included in the offense charged or of an attempt to commit either the offense charged or an offense necessarily included therein if the attempt is an offense.
(d) Poll of Jury. When a verdict is returned and before it is recorded the jury shall be polled at the request of any party or upon the court's own motion. If upon the poll there is not unanimous concurrence, the jury may be directed to retire for further deliberations or may be discharged.
(e) Criminal Forfeiture. If the information alleges that an interest or property is subject to criminal forfeiture, a special verdict shall be returned as to the extent of the interest or property subject to forfeiture, if any.
(1) Imposition of Sentence. Sentence shall be imposed without unreasonable delay. Before imposing sentence, the court shall afford counsel an opportunity to speak on behalf of the defendant and shall address the defendant personally and ask him if he wishes to make a statement in his own behalf and to present any information in mitigation of punishment. The attorney for the government shall have an equivalent opportunity to speak to the court.
(2) Notification of Right to Appeal. After imposing sentence in a case which has gone to trial on a plea of not guilty, the court shall advise the defendant of his right to appeal and of the right of a person who is unable to pay the cost an appeal to apply for leave to appeal in forma pauperis. There shall be no duty on the court to advise the defendant of any right of appeal after sentence is imposed following a plea of guilty or nolo contendere. If the defendant so requests, the clerk of the court shall prepare and file forthwith a notice of appeal on behalf of the defendant.
(1) In General. A judgment of conviction shall set forth the plea, the verdict or findings, and the adjudication and sentence. If the defendant is found not guilty or for any other reason is entitled to be discharged, judgment shall be entered accordingly. The judgment shall be signed by the judge and entered by the clerk.
(2) Criminal Forfeiture. When a verdict contains a finding of property subject to a criminal forfeiture, the judgment of criminal forfeiture shall authorize the Attorney General to seize the interest or property subject to forfeiture, fixing such terms and conditions as the court shall deem proper.
(c) Presentence Investigation.
(1) When Made. The probation service of the court shall make a presentence investigation and report to the court before the imposition of sentence or the granting of probation unless, with the permission of the court, the defendant waives a presentence investigation and report, or the court finds that there is in the record information sufficient to enable the meaningful exercise of sentence discretion, and the court explains this finding on the record.
The report shall not be submitted to the court or its contents disclosed to anyone unless the defendant has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere or has been found guilty, except that a judge may, with the written consent of the defendant, inspect a presentence report at any time.
(2) Report. The report of the presentence investigation shall contain any prior criminal record of the defendant and such information about his characteristics, his financial condition and the circumstances affecting his behavior as may be helpful in imposing sentence or in granting probation or in the correctional treatment of the defendant, and such other information as may be required by the court.
(A) Before imposing sentence the court shall upon request permit the defendant, or his counsel if he is so represented, to read the report of the presentence investigation exclusive of any recommendation as to sentence, but not to the extent that in the opinion of the court the report contains diagnostic opinion which might seriously disrupt a program of rehabilitation, sources of information obtained upon a promise of confidentiality, or any other information which, if disclosed, might result in harm, physical or otherwise, to the defendant or other persons; and the court shall afford the defendant or his counsel an opportunity to comment thereon and, at the discretion of the court, to introduce testimony or other information relating to any alleged factual inaccuracy contained in the presentence report.
(B) If the court is of the view that there is information in the presentence report which should not be disclosed under subdivision (c)(3)(A) of this rule, the court in lieu of making the report or part thereof available shall state orally or in writing a summary of the factual information contained therein to be relied on in determining sentence, and shall give the defendant or his counsel an opportunity to comment thereon. The statement may be made to the parties in camera.
(C) Any material disclosed to the defendant or his counsel shall also be disclosed to the attorney for the government.
(D) Any copies of the presentence investigation report made available to the defendant or his counsel and the probation officer immediately following the imposition of sentence or the granting of probation, unless the court, in its discretion otherwise directs.
(d) Withdrawal of Plea of Guilty. A motion to withdraw a plea of guilty or of nolo contendere may be made only before sentence is imposed or imposition of sentence is suspended; but to correct manifest injustice the court after sentence may set aside the judgment of conviction and permit the defendant to withdraw his plea.
RULE 33.NEW TRIAL. The court on motion of a defendant may grant a new trial to him if required in the interest of justice. If trial was by the court without jury the court on motion of a defendant for a new trial may vacate the judgment if entered, take additional testimony and direct the entry of a new judgment. A motion for a new trial based on the ground of newly discovered evidence may be made only before or within two years after final judgment, but if any appeal is pending the court may grant the motion only on remand of the case. A motion for a new trial based on any other grounds shall be made within 10 days after verdict or finding of guilty.
RULE 34.ARREST OF JUDGMENT. The court on motion of a defendant shall arrest judgment if the indictment or information does not charge an offense or if the court was without jurisdiction of the offense charged. The motion in arrest of judgment shall be made within 10 days after verdict or finding of guilty, or after plea of guilty or nolo contendere, or within such further time as the court may fix during the 10-day period.
(a) Correction of Sentence. The court may correct an illegal sentence at any time and may correct a sentence imposed in an illegal manner within the time provided herein for the reduction of sentence.
(b) Reduction of Sentence. The Court may reduce a sentence within 120 days after the sentence is imposed, or within 120 days after receipt by the court of a mandate issued upon affirmance of the judgment or dismissal of the appeal, or within 120 days after entry of any order or judgment of the appellate division denying review of, or having the effect of upholding, a judgment of conviction. The court may also reduce a sentence upon revocation of probation as provided by law. Changing a sentence from a sentence of incarceration to a grant of probation shall constitute a permissible reduction of sentence under this subdivision.
RULE 36.CLERICAL MISTAKES. Clerical mistakes in judgments, orders or other parts of the record and errors in the record arising from oversight or omission may be corrected by the court at any time and after such notice, if any, as the court orders.
(a) Death. A sentence of death shall be stayed if an appeal is taken.
(b) Imprisonment. A sentence of imprisonment shall be stayed if an appeal is taken and the defendant is released pending disposition of appeal pursuant to 9(b) ACR.
(c) Fine. A sentence to pay a fine or a fine and costs, if an appeal is taken, may be stayed by the trial court or by the appellate division upon such terms as the court deem proper. The court may require the defendant pending appeal to deposit the whole or any part of the fine and costs with the clerk of the court, or to give bond for the payment thereof, or to submit to an examination of assets, and it may make any appropriate order to restrain the defendant from dissipating his assets.
(d) Probation. An order placing the defendant on probation may be stayed if an appeal is taken. If not stayed, the court shall specify when the term of probation shall commence. If the order is stayed the court shall fix the terms of the stay.
(a) Authority to Issue Warrant. A search warrant authorized by this rule may be issued by a trial court judge or justice of the High Court upon request of an attorney for the government.
(b) Property or Persons Which May Be Seized With A Warrant. A warrant may be issued under this rule to search for and seize any (1) property that constitutes evidence of the commission of a criminal offense; or (2) contraband, the fruits of crime, or things otherwise criminally possessed; or (3) property designed or intended for use or which is or has been used as the means of committing a criminal offense; or (4) person for whose arrest there is probable cause, or who is unlawfully restrained.
(c) Issuance and Contents.
(1) Warrant upon Affidavit. A warrant other than a warrant upon oral testimony under paragraph (2) of this subdivision shall issue only on an affidavit or affidavits sworn to before the district court judge or justice of the High Court and establishing the grounds for issuing the warrant. If the judge or justice is satisfied that grounds for the application exist or that there is probable cause to believe that they exist, he shall issue a warrant identifying the property or persons to be seized and naming or describing the person or place to be searched. The finding of probable cause may be based upon hearsay evidence in whole or in part. Before ruling on a request for a warrant the judge or justice may require the affiant to appear personally and examine under oath the affiant and any witnesses he may produce, provided that such proceeding shall be taken down by a court reporter or recording equipment and made part of the affidavit. The warrant shall be directed to a marshal or police officer of American Samoa. It shall command the officer to search, within a specified period of time not to exceed 10 days, the person or place named for the property or person specified. The warrant shall be served in the daytime, unless the issuing authority, by appropriate provision in the warrant, and for reasonable cause shown, authorizes its execution at times other than daytime. It shall designate a judge or justice to whom it shall be returned.
(d) Execution and Return with Inventory. The officer taking property under the warrant shall give to the person from whom or from whose premises the property was taken a copy of the warrant and a receipt for the property taken or shall leave the copy and receipt at the place from which the property was taken. The return shall be made promptly and shall be accompanied by a written inventory of any property taken. The inventory shall be made in the presence of the applicant for the warrant and the person from whose possession or premises the property was taken, if they are present, or in the presence of at least one credible person other than the applicant for the warrant or the person from whose possession or premises the property was taken, and shall be verified by the officer. The district court judge or justice of the High Court shall upon request deliver a copy of the inventory to the person from whom or from whose premises the property was taken and to the applicant for the warrant.
(e) Motion for Return of Property. A person aggrieved by an unlawful search and seizure may move in the trial court for the return of the property on the ground that he is entitled to lawful possession of the property which was illegally seized. The judge shall receive evidence on any issue of fact necessary to the decision of the motion. If the motion is granted the property shall be restored and it shall not be admissible in evidence at any hearing or trial.
(f) If a motion for return of property is made or comes on for hearing after an information is filed, it shall be treated also as a motion to suppress under 12 TCRCrP.
(g) Return of Papers to Clerk. The judge or justice before whom the warrant is returned shall attach to the warrant a copy of the return, inventory and all other papers in connection therewith and shall file them with the clerk of court.
(h) Scope and Definition. This rule does not modify any act, inconsistent with it, regulating search, seizure and the issuances and execution of search warrants in circumstances for which special provision is made. The "property" is used in this rule to include documents, books, papers and any other tangible objects. The term "daytime" is used in this rule to mean the hours from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. according to local time.
(a) Presence Required. The defendant shall be present at the arraignment, at the time of the plea, at every stage of the trial including the impanelling of the jury and the return of the verdict, and at the imposition of sentence, except as otherwise provided by this rule.
(b) Continued Presence Not Required. The further progress of the trial to and including the return of the verdict shall not be prevented and the defendant shall be considered to have waived his right to be present whenever a defendant, initially present,
(1) voluntarily absents himself after the trial has commenced (whether or not he has been informed by the court of his obligation to remain during the trial), or
(2) after being warned by the court that disruptive conduct will cause him to be removed from the courtroom, persists in conduct which is such as to justify his being excluded from the courtroom.
(c) Presence Not Required. A defendant need not be present in the following situations:
(1) A corporation may appear by counsel for all purposes.
(2) In prosecutions for offenses punishable by fine or by imprisonment for not more than one year or both, the court, with the written consent of the defendant, may permit arraignment, plea, trial, and imposition of sentence in the defendant's absence.
(3) At a conference or argument upon a question of law.
(4) At a reduction of sentence under 35 TCRCrP.
(a) Right to Assigned Counsel. Every defendant who is unable to obtain counsel shall be entitled to have counsel assigned to represent him at every stage of the proceedings from his initial appearance before the district court through appeal, unless he waives such appointment.
(a) Computation. In computing any period of time the day of the act or event from which the designated period of time begins to run shall not be included. The last day of the period so computed shall be included, unless it is a Saturday, a Sunday or a legal holiday, in which event the period runs until the end of the next day which is not a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday. When a period of time prescribed or allowed is less than 7 days, intermediate Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays shall be excluded in the computation. As used in these rules, "legal holiday" includes New Year's Day, Washington's Birthday, Flag Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and any other day appointed as a holiday by the Governor or the Fono of American Samoa.
(b) Enlargement. When an act is required or allowed to be done at or within a specified time, the court for cause shown may at any time in its discretion (1) with or without motion or notice, order the period enlarged if request therefor is made before the expiration of the period originally prescribed or as extended y a previous order or (2) upon motion made after the expiration of the specified period permit the act to be done if the failure to act was the result of excusable neglect; but the court may not extend the time for taking any action under 29, 33, 34 and 35 TCRCrP except to the extent and under the conditions stated in them.
(d) For Motions; Affidavits. A written motion, other than one which may be heard ex parte, and notice of the hearing thereof shall be served not later than 5 days before the time specified for the hearing unless a different period is fixed by rule or order of the court. For cause shown such an order may be made on ex parte application. When a motion is supported by affidavit, the affidavit shall be served with the motion; and opposing affidavits may be served not less than 3 day before the hearing unless the court permits them to be served at a later time.
(e) Additional Time After Service by Mail. Whenever a party has the right or is required to do an act within a prescribed period after the service of a notice or other paper is served upon him by mail, 6 days shall be added to the prescribed period.
(a) Release Prior to Trial. Eligibility for release prior to trial shall be governed by Art. 1, Sec. 6 of the Revised Constitution of American Samoa. Subject to the constitutional restraints, a defendant may be released on his own recognizance at the discretion of the trial judge.
(b) Release During Trial. A person released before trial shall continue on release during trial under the same terms and conditions as were previously imposed unless the court determines that other terms and conditions or termination of release are necessary to assure his presence during the trial or to assure that his conduct will not obstruct the orderly and expeditious progress of the trial.
(c) Pending Sentence and Notice of Appeal. Eligibility for release pending sentence or pending notice of appeal or expiration of the time allowed for filing notice of appeal shall be up to the discretion of the court and upon such terms and conditions as it shall impose. The burden of establishing that the defendant will not flee or pose a danger to any other person or to the community rests with the defendant.
(d) Justification of Sureties. Every surety, except a corporate surety which is approved as provided by law, shall justify by affidavit and may be required to describe in the affidavit the property by which he proposes to justify and the encumbrances thereon, the number and amount of other bonds and undertakings for bail entered into by him and remaining undischarged and all his other liabilities. No bond shall be approved unless the surety thereon appears to be qualified.
(1) Declaration. If there is a breach of condition of a bond, the district court or High Court shall declare a forfeiture of the bail.
(2) Setting Aside. The court may direct that a forfeiture be set aside, upon such conditions as the court may impose, if it appears that justice does not require the enforcement of the forfeiture.
(3) Enforcement. When a forfeiture has not been set aside, the court shall on motion enter a judgment of default and execution may issue thereon. By entering into a bond the obligors submit to the jurisdiction of the district court or High Court and irrevocably appoint the clerk of court as their agent upon whom any papers affecting their liability may be served. Their liability may be enforced on motion without the necessity of an independent action. The motion and such notice of the motion as the court prescribes may be served on the clerk of court, who shall forthwith mail copies to the obligor to their last known addresses.
(4) Remission. After entry of such judgment, the court may remit it in whole or in part under the conditions applying to the setting aside of forfeiture in paragraph (2) of this subdivision.
(f) Exoneration. When the condition of the bond has been satisfied or the forfeiture thereof has been set aside or remitted, the court shall exonerate the obligor and release any bail. A surety may be exonerated by a deposit of cash in the amount of the bond or by a timely surrender of the defendant into custody.
(g) Supervision of Detention Pending Trial. The court shall exercise supervision over the detention of defendants and witnesses pending trial for the purpose of eliminating all unnecessary detention. The attorney for the government shall make a biweekly report to the court listing each defendant and witness who has been held in custody pending indictment, arraignment or trial for a period in excess of ten days. As to each witness so listed the attorney for the government shall make a statement of the reasons why such witness should not be released with or without the taking of his deposition pursuant to 15(a) TCRCrP. As to each defendant so listed the attorney for the government shall make a statement of the reasons why the defendant is still held in custody.
An application to the court for an order shall be by motion. A motion other than one made during a trial or hearing shall be in writing unless the court permits it to be made orally. It shall state the grounds upon which it is made and shall set forth the relief or order sought. It may be supported by affidavit.
(a) By Attorney For Government. The Attorney General may by leave of court file a dismissal of an information or complaint and the prosecution shall thereupon terminate. Such a dismissal may not be filed during the trial without the consent of the defendant.
(b) By Court. If there is unnecessary delay in filing an information against a defendant who has been held to answer to the district court or High Court or if there is unnecessary delay in bringing a defendant to trial, the court may dismiss the information or complaint.
(a) Service: When Required. Written motions other than those which are heard ex parte, written notices, designations of record on appeal and similar papers shall be served upon each of the parties.
(b) Service: How Made. Whenever under these rules or by an order of the court service is required or permitted to be made upon a party represented by an attorney, the service shall be made upon the attorney unless service upon the party himself is ordered by the court. Service upon the attorney or upon a party shall be made in the manner provided in civil actions.
(c) Notice of Orders. Immediately upon the entry of an order made on a written motion subsequent to arraignment the clerk shall place the order in the court file of each party and shall make a note in the docket. Lack of notice of the entry by the clerk does not affect the time to appeal or relieve or authorize the court to relieve a party for failure to appeal within the time allowed, except as permitted by Rule 4(b) of the American Samoa Rules of Appellate Procedure.
(d) Filing. Papers required to be served shall be filed with the court. Papers shall be filed in the manner provided in civil actions.
Exceptions to rulings or orders of the court are unnecessary and for all purposes for which an exception has heretofore been necessary it is sufficient that a party, at the time the ruling or order of the court is made or sought, makes known to the court the action which he desires the court to take and the grounds therefor; but if a party has no opportunity to object to a ruling or order, the absence of an objection does not thereafter prejudice him.
(a) Harmless Error. Any error, defect, irregularity or variance which does not affect substantial rights shall be disregarded.
(b) Plain Error. Plain errors or defects affecting substantial rights may be noticed although they were not brought to the attention of the court.
RULES OF EVIDENCE
C. Trial Court Rules (TCR)
V. Rules of Evidence
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ARTICLE I. GENERAL PROVISIONS.
ARTICLE II. JUDICIAL NOTICE
ARTICLE III. PRESUMPTIONS IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL
ARTICLE IV. RELEVANCY AND ITS LIMITS.
ARTICLE V. PRIVILEGES.
ARTICLE VI. WITNESSES.
ARTICLE VII. OPINION TESTIMONY BY LAY WITNESSES.
ARTICLE VIII. HEARSAY.
ARTICLE IX. AUTHENTICATION AND IDENTIFICATION.
ARTICLE IX. CONTENTS OF WRITINGS, RECORDINGS, &
V. RULES OF EVIDENCE
ARTICLE I. GENERAL PROVISIONS.
These rules govern proceedings in the courts of American Samoa. They shall be known as the Rules of Evidence and cited as _______________TCREv.
These rules shall be construed to secure the fairness in administration, the elimination of unjustifiable expense and delay, and the promotion of growth and development of the law of evidence to the end that the truth may be ascertained and proceedings justly determined.
(a) Effect of erroneous ruling. Error may not be predicated upon a ruling which admits or excludes evidence unless a substantial right of the party is affected, and
(1) Objection. In cases the ruling is one admitting evidence, a timely objection or motion to strike must appear of record, stating the specific ground of objection, if the specific ground was not apparent from the context; or
(2) Offer of proof. In case the ruling is one excluding evidence, the substance of the evidence must be made known to the court by offer unless it was apparent from the context within which questions were asked.
(b) Record of offer ruling. The court may add any other or further statement which shows the character of the evidence, the form in which it was offered, the objection made, and the ruling thereon. It may direct the making of an offer in question and answer form.
(c) Hearing of jury. In jury cases, proceedings shall be conducted, to the extent practicable, so as to prevent inadmissible evidence from being suggested to the jury by any means, such as making statements or offers of proof or asking questions in the hearing of the jury.
(d) Plain error. Nothing in this rule precludes taking notice of plain errors affecting substantial rights although they were not brought to the attention of the court.
(a) Questions of admissibility generally. Preliminary questions concerning the qualification of a person to be a witness, the existence of a privilege, or the admissibility of evidence shall be determined by the court, subject to the provisions of subdivision (b). In making its determination it is not bound by the rules of evidence except those with respect to privileges.
(b) Relevancy conditioned on fact. When the relevancy of evidence depends upon the fulfillment of a condition of fact, the court shall admit it upon, or subject to, the introduction of evidence sufficient to support a finding of the fulfillment of the condition.
(c) Hearing of jury. Hearings on the admissibility of confessions shall in all cases be conducted out of the hearing of the jury. Hearings on other preliminary matters shall be so conducted when the interests of justice require or, when an accused is a witness, if he so requests.
(d) Testimony by accused. The accused does not, by testifying upon a preliminary matter, subject himself to cross-examination as to other issues in the case.
(e) Weight and credibility. This rule does not limit the right of a party to introduce before the jury evidence relevant to weight or credibility.
When evidence which is admissible as to one party or for one purpose but not admissible as to another party or for another purpose is admitted, the court, upon request, shall restrict the evidence to its proper scope and instruct the jury accordingly.
When a writing or recorded statement or part thereof is introduced by a party, an adverse party may require him at that time to introduce any other part or any other writing or recorded statement which ought in fairness to be considered contemporaneously with it.
ARTICLE II. JUDICIAL NOTICE
(a) Scope of rule. This rule governs only judicial notice of adjudicative facts.
(b) Kinds of facts. A judicially noticed fact must be one not subject to reasonable dispute in that it is either (1) generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court or (2) capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.
(c) When discretionary. A court may take judicial notice, whether requested or not.
(d) When mandatory. A court shall take judicial notice if requested by a party and supplied with the necessary information.
(e) Opportunity to be heard. A party is entitled upon timely request to an opportunity to be heard as to the propriety of taking judicial notice and the tenor of the matter noticed. In the absence of prior notification, the request may be made after judicial notice has been taken.
(f) Time of taking notice. Judicial notice may be taken at any stage of the proceeding.
(g) Instructing jury. In a criminal case, the court shall instruct the jury that it may, but is not required to, accept as conclusive any fact judicially noticed.
ARTICLE III. PRESUMPTIONS IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL
In all civil actions and proceedings not otherwise provided for by Act of the Fono or by these rules, a presumption imposes on the party against whom it is directed the burden of going forward with evidence to rebut or meet the presumption, but does not shift to such party the burden of proof in the sense of the risk of nonpersuasion, which remains throughout the trial upon the party on whom it was originally cast.
In civil actions, the effect of a presumption respecting a fact which is an element of a claim or defense is that in the absence of evidence to the contrary the trier of fact must find the presumed fact unless the evidence as a whole negatives the existence of the presumed fact.
The court is not compelled to find a presumed fact against the accused. When the presumed fact establishes guilt or is an element of the offense or negatives a defense, the court may find guilt or the existence of the presumed fact if, but only if, a reasonable judge on the evidence as a whole including the evidence of the basic facts, could find guilt or the presumed fact beyond a reasonable doubt. When the presumed fact has a lesser effect, its existence may be found if the basic facts are supported by substantial evidence, or are otherwise established, unless the evidence as a whole negatives the existence of the presumed fact.
ARTICLE IV. RELEVANCY AND ITS LIMITS.
"Relevant evidence" means evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence.
All relevant evidence is admissible, except as otherwise provided by the Constitution of the United States, the Revised Constitution of American Samoa, by Act of Fono, or by these rules. Evidence which is not relevant is not admissible.
Although relevant, evidence may be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.
(a) Character evidence generally. Evidence of a person's character or a trait of his character is not admissible for the purposes of proving that he acted in conformity therewith on a particular occasion, except:
(1) Character of accused. Evidence of a pertinent trait of his character offered by an accused, or by the prosecution to rebut the same;
(2) Character of victim. Evidence of a pertinent trait of character of the victim of the crime offered by an accused, or by the prosecution to rebut the same, or evidence of a character trait of peacefulness of the victim offered by the prosecution in a homicide case to rebut evidence that the victim was the first aggressor.
(3) Character of witness. Evidence of the character of a witness, as provided in 607, 608 and 609 TCREv.
(b) Other crimes, wrongs, or acts. Evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show that he acted in conformity there with. It may, however, be admissible for other purposes, such as proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident.
(a) Reputation or opinion. In all cases in which evidence of character or a trait of character of a person is admissible, proof may be made by testimony as to reputation or by testimony in the form of an opinion. On cross-examination, inquiry is allowable into relevant specific instances of conduct.
(b) Specific instances of conduct. In cases in which character or a trait of character of a person is an essential element of a charge, claim, or defense, proof may also be made of specific instances of his conduct.
Evidence of the habit of a person or of the routine practice of an organization, whether corroborated or not and regardless of the presence of eyewitnesses, is relevant to prove that the conduct of the person or organization on a particular occasion was in conformity with the habit or routine practice.
When, after an event, measures are taken which, if taken previously, would have made the event less likely to occur, evidence of the subsequent measures is not admissible to prove negligence or culpable conduct in connection with the event. This rule does not require the exclusion of evidence of subsequent measures when offered for another purpose, such as proving ownership, control, or feasibility of precautionary measures, if controverted, or impeachment.
Evidence of (1) furnishing or offering or promising to furnish, or (2) accepting or offering or promising to accept, a valuable consideration in compromising or attempting to compromise a claim which was disputed as to either validity or amount, is not admissible to prove liability or invalidity of the claim or its amount. Evidence of conduct or statements made in compromise negotiations is likewise not admissible. This rule does not require the exclusion of any evidence otherwise discoverable merely because it is presented in the course of compromise negotiations. This rule also does not require exclusion when the evidence is offered for another purpose, such as proving bias or prejudice of a witness, negativing a contention of undue delay, or proving an effort to obstruct a criminal investigation or prosecution.
Evidence of furnishing or offering or promising to pay medical, hospital, or similar expenses occasioned by an injury is not admissible to prove liability for the injury.
Except as otherwise provided in this rule, evidence of the following is not, in any civil or criminal proceeding, admissible against the defendant who made the plea or was a participant in the plea discussions:
(1) a plea of guilty which was later withdrawn;
(2) a plea of nolo contendere;
(3) any statement made in the course of any proceedings under 11 TCREv regarding either of the foregoing pleas; or
(4) any statement made in the course of plea discussions with an attorney for the prosecuting authority which do not result in a plea of guilty or which result in a plea of guilty later withdrawn.
However, such a statement is admissible (i) in any proceeding wherein another statement made in the course of the same plea or plea discussions has been introduced and the statement ought in fairness be considered contemporaneously with it, or (ii) in a criminal proceeding for perjury or false statement if the statement was made by the defendant under oath, on the record and in the presence of counsel.
Evidence that a person was or was not insured against liability is not admissible upon the issue whether he acted negligently or otherwise wrongfully. This rule does not require the exclusion of evidence of insurance against liability when offered for another purpose, such as proof of agency, ownership, or control, or bias or prejudice of a witness.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in a criminal case in which a person is accused of rape or of assault with intent to commit rape, reputation or opinion evidence of the past sexual behavior of an alleged victim of such rape or assault is not admissible.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in a criminal case in which a person is accused of rape or of assault with intent to commit rape, evidence of a victim's past sexual behavior other than reputation or opinion evidence is also not admissible, unless such evidence other than reputation or opinion evidence is:
(1) Admitted in accordance with subdivisions (c)(1) and (c)(2) and is constitutionally required to be admitted; or
(2) admitted inaccordance with subdivision (c) and is evidence of:
(A) past sexual behavior with persons other than theaccused, offered by the accused upon the issue of whether the accused was or was not, with respect to the alleged victim, the source of semen or injury; or
(B) past sexual behavior with the accused and is offered by the accused upon the issue of whether the alleged victim consented to the sexual behavior with respect to which rape or assault is alleged.
(c) (1) If the person accused of committing rape or assault with intent to commit rape intends to offer under subdivision (b) evidence of specific instances of the alleged victim's past sexual behavior, the accused shall make a written motion to offer such evidence not later than fifteen days before the date on which the trial in which such evidence is to be offered is scheduled to begin, except that the court may allow the motion to be made at a later date, including during trial, if the court determines either that the evidence is newly discovered and could not have been obtained earlier through the exercise of due diligence or that the issue to which such evidence relates has newly arisen in the case. Any motion made under this paragraph shall be served on all other parties and on the alleged victim.
(2) The motion described in paragraph (1) shall be accompanied by a written offer of proof. If the court determines that the offer of proof contains evidence described in subdivision (b), the court shall order a hearing in chambers to determine if such evidence is admissible. At such hearing the parties may call witnesses, including the alleged victim, and offer relevant evidence. Notwithstanding subdivision (b) of 104 TCREv, if the relevancy of the evidence which the accuses seeks to offer in the trial depends upon the fulfillment of a condition of fact, the court, at the hearing in chambers or at a subsequent hearing in chambers scheduled for such purpose, shall accept evidence on the issue of whether such condition of fact is fulfilled and shall determine such issue.
(3) If the court determines on the basis of the hearing described in paragraph (2) that the evidence which the accused seeks to offer is relevant and that the probative value of such evidence outweighs the danger of unfair prejudice, such evidence shall be admissible in the trial to the extent an order made by the court specifies evidence which may be offered and areas with respect to which the alleged victim may be examined or cross-examined.
(d) For purposes of this rule, the term "past sexual behavior" means sexual behavior other than the sexual behavior with respect to which rape or assault with intent to commit rape is alleged.
ARTICLE V. PRIVILEGES.
Except as otherwise required by the Constitution of the United States or of American Samoa or provided by an Act of the Fono, the privileges of a witness, person, government or political subdivision thereof shall be governed by the principles of the common law.
ARTICLE VI. WITNESSES.
Every person is competent to be a witness except as otherwise provided in these rules.
A witness may not testify to a matter unless evidence is introduced sufficient to support a finding that he has personal knowledge of the matter. Evidence to prove personal knowledge may, but need not, consist of the testimony of the witness himself. This rule is subject to the provisions of 703 TCREv, relating to opinion testimony by expert witnesses.
Before testifying, every witness shall be required to declare that he will testify truthfully, by oath or affirmation administered in a form calculated to awaken his conscience and impress his mind with his duty to do so.
An interpreter is subject to the provisions of these rules relating ot qualification as an expert and the administration of an oath or affirmation that he will make a true translation.
The judge presiding at the trial may not testify in that trial as a witness. No objection need be made in order to preserve the point.
(a) At the trial. A member of the jury may not testify as a witness before that jury in the trial of the case in which he is sitting as a juror. If he is called so to testify, the opposing party shall be afforded an opportunity to object out of the presence of the jury.
(b) Inquiry into validity of verdict. Upon an inquiry into the validity of a verdict, a juror may not testify as to any matter or statement occurring during the course of the jury's deliberations or to the effect of anything upon his or any other juror's mind or emotions as influencing him to assent to or dissent from the verdict or concerning his mental processes in connection therewith, except that a juror may testify on the question whether extraneous prejudicial information was improperly brought to the jury's attention or whether any outside influence was improperly brought to bear upon any juror. Nor may his affidavit or evidence of any statement by him concerning a matter about which he would be precluded from testifying be received for these purposes.
The credibility of a witness may be attacked by any party, including the party calling him.
(a) Opinion and reputation evidence of character. The credibility of a witness may be attacked or supported by evidence in the form of opinion or reputation, but subject to these limitations: (1) the evidence may refer only to character for truthfulness or untruthfulness, and (2) evidence of truthful character is admissible only after the character of the witness for truthfulness has been attacked by opinion or reputation evidence or otherwise.
(b) Specific instances of conduct. Specific instances of the conduct of a witness, for the purpose of attacking or supporting his credibility, other than conviction of crime as provided in 609 TCREv, may not be proved by extrinsic evidence. They may, however, in the discretion of the court, if probative of truthfulness or untruthfulness, be inquired into on cross-examination of the witness (1) concerning his character for truthfulness or untruthfulness, or (2) concerning the character for truthfulness or untruthfulness of another witness as to which character the witness being cross-examined has testified.
The giving of testimony, whether by an accused or by any other witness, does not operate as a waiver of his privilege against self-incrimination when examined with respect to matters which relate only to credibility.
(a) General rule. For the purpose of attacking the credibility of a witness, evidence that he has been convicted of a crime shall be admitted if elicited from him or established by public record during cross-examination but only if the crime (1) was punishable by death or imprisonment in excess of one year under the law under which he was convicted, and the court determines that the probative value of admitting this evidence outweighs its prejudicial effect to the defendant, or (2) involved dishonesty or false statement, regardless of the punishment.
(b) Time limit. Evidence of a conviction under this rule is not admissible if a period of more than ten years has elapsed since the date of the conviction or of the release of the witness from the confinement imposed for that conviction, whichever is the later date, unless the court determines, in the interests of justice, that the probative value of the conviction supported by specific facts and circumstances substantially outweighs its prejudicial effect. However, evidence of a conviction more than 10 years old as calculated herein, is not admissible unless the proponent gives to the adverse party sufficient advance written notice of intent to use such evidence to provide the adverse party with a fair opportunity to contest the use of such evidence.
(c) Effect of pardon, annulment, or certificate of rehabilitation. Evidence of a conviction is not admissible under this rule if (1) the conviction has been the subject of a pardon, annulment, certificate of rehabilitation, or other equivalent procedure based on a finding of the rehabilitation of the person convicted, and that person has not been convicted of a subsequent crime which was punishable by death or imprisonment in excess of one year, or (2) the conviction has been the subject of a pardon, annulment, or other equivalent procedure based on a finding of innocence.
(d) Juvenile adjudications. Evidence of juvenile adjudications is generally not admissible under this rule. The court may, however, in a criminal case allow evidence of a juvenile adjudication of a witness other than the accused if conviction of the offense would be admissible to attack the credibility of an adult and the court is satisfied that admission in evidence is necessary for a fair determination of the issue of guilt or innocence.
(e) Pendency of appeal. The pendency of an appeal therefrom does not render evidence of a conviction inadmissible, Evidence of the pendency of an appeal is admissible.
Evidence of the beliefs or opinions of a witness on matters of religion is not admissible for the purpose of showing that by reason of their nature his credibility is impaired or enhanced.
(a) Control by court. The court shall exercise reasonable control over the mode and order of interrogating witnesses and presenting evidence so as to (1) make the interrogation and presentation effective for the ascertainment of the truth, (2) avoid needless consumption of time, and (3) protect witnesses from harassment or undue embarrassment.
(b) Scope of cross-examination. Cross-examination should be limited to the subject matter of the direct examination and matters affecting the credibility of the witness. The court may, in the exercise of discretion, permit inquiry into additional matters as if on direct examination.
(c) Leading questions. Leading questions should not be used on the direct examination of a witness except as may be necessary to develop his testimony. Ordinarily leading questions should be permitted on cross-examination. When a party calls a hostile witness, an adverse party, or a witness identified with an adverse party, interrogation may be by leading questions.
If a witness used a writing to refresh his memory for the purpose of testifying, either --
(1) while testifying, or
(2) before testifying, if the court in its discretion determines it is necessary in the interests of justice, an adverse party is entitled to have the writing produced at the hearing, to inspect it, to cross-examine the witness thereon, and to introduce in evidence those portions which relate to the testimony of the witness. If it is claimed that the writing contains matters not related ot the subject matter of the testimony the court shall examine the writing in camera, excise any portions not so related, and order delivery of the remainder to the party entitled thereto. Any portion withheld over objections shall be preserved and made available to the appellate court in the event of an appeal. If a writing is not produced or delivered pursuant to order under this rule, the court shall make any order justice requires, except that in criminal cases when the prosecution elects not to comply, the order shall be one striking the testimony or, if the court in its discretion determines that the interests of justice so require, declaring a mistrial.
(a) Examining witness concerning prior statement. In examining a witness concerning a prior statement made by him, whether written or not, the statement need not be shown nor its contents disclosed to him at that time, but on request the same shall be shown or disclosed to opposing counsel.
(b) Extrinsic evidence of prior inconsistent statement of witness. Extrinsic evidence of a prior inconsistent statement by a witness is not admissible unless the witness is afforded an opportunity to explain or deny the same and the opposite party is afforded an opportunity to interrogate him thereon, or the interests of justice otherwise require. This provision does not apply to admissions of a party-opponent as defined in 801 (d)(2) TCREv.
(a) Calling by court. The court may, on its own motion or at the suggestion of a party, call witnesses, and all parties are entitled to cross-examine witnesses thus called.
(b) Interrogation by court. The court may interrogate witnesses, whether called by itself or by a party.
(c) Objections. Objections to the calling of witnesses by the court or to interrogation by it may be made at the time or at the next available opportunity when the jury is not present.
At the request of a party the court shall order witnesses excluded so that they cannot hear the testimony of other witnesses, and it may make the order of its own motion. This rule does not authorize exclusion of (1) a party who is a natural person, or (2) an officer or employee of a party which is not a natural person designated as its representative by its attorney, or (3) a person whose presence is shown by a party to be essential to the presentation of his cause.
ARTICLE VII. OPINIONS AND EXPERT TESTIMONY.
If the witness is not testifying as an expert, his testimony in the form of opinions or inferences is limited to those opinions or inferences which are (a) rationally based on the perception of the witness and (b) helpful to a clear understanding of his testimony or the determination of a fact in issue.
If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise.
The facts or data in the particular case upon which an expert bases an opinion or inference may be those perceived by or made known to him at or before the hearing. If of a type reasonably relied upon by experts in the particular field in forming opinions or inferences upon the subject, the facts or data need not be admissible in evidence.
Testimony in the form of an opinion or inference otherwise admissible is not objectionable because it embraces an ultimate issue to be decided by the trier of fact.
The expert may testify in terms of opinion or inference and give his reasons therefor without prior disclosure of the underlying facts or data, unless the court requires otherwise. The expert may in any event be required to disclose the underlying facts or data on cross-examination.
(a) Appointment. The court may on its own motion or on the motion of any party enter an order to show cause why expert witnesses should not be appointed, and may request the
parties to submit nominations. The court may appoint any expert witnesses agreed upon by the parties, and may appoint expert witnesses of its own selection. An expert witness shall not be appointed by the court unless he consents to act. A witness so appointed shall be informed of his duties by the court in writing, a copy of which shall be filed with the clerk, or at a conference in which the parties shall have opportunity to participate. A witness so appointed shall advise the parties of his findings, if any; his deposition may be taken by any party; and he may be called to testify by the court or any party. He shall be subject to cross-examination by each party, including a party calling him as a witness.
(b) Compensation. Expert witnesses so appointed are entitled to reasonable compensation in whatever sum the court may allow. The compensation thus fixed is payable from funds which may be provided by law in criminal cases and civil actions and proceedings involving just compensation under the due process clause. In other civil actions and proceedings the compensation shall be paid by the parties in such proportion and at such time as the court directs, and thereafter charged in like manner as other costs.
(c) Disclosure of appointment. In the exercise of its discretion, the court may authorize disclosure to the jury of the fact that the court appointed the expert witness.
(d) Parties' experts of own selection. Nothing in this rule limits the parties in calling expert witnesses of their own selection.
ARTICLE VIII. HEARSAY.
The following definitions apply under this article:
(a) Statement. A "Statement" is (1) an oral or written assertion or (2) nonverbal conduct of a person, if it is intended by him as an assertion.
(b) Declarant. A "declarant" is a person who makes a statement.
(c) Hearsay. "Hearsay" is a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.
(d) Statements which are not hearsay. A statement is not hearsay if-
(1) Prior statement by witness. The declarant testifies at the trial or hearing and is subject to cross-examination concerning the statement, and the statement is (A) inconsistent with his testimony, and was given under oath subject to the perjury at a trial, hearing, or other proceeding, or in a deposition, or (B) consistent with his testimony and is offered to rebut an express or implied charge against him or recent fabrication or improper influence or motive, or (C) one of identification of a person made after perceiving him; or
(2) Admission by party-opponent. The statement is offered against a party and is (A) his own statement, in either his individual or a representative capacity or (B) a statement of which he has manifested his adoption or belief in its truth, or (C) a statement by a person authorized by him to make a statement concerning the subject, or (D) a statement by his agent or servant concerning a matter within the scope of his agency or employment, made during the existence of the relationship, or (E) a statement by a conspirator of a party during the course and in furtherance of the conspiracy.
Hearsay is not admissible except as provided by these rules or by the laws of American Samoa.
The following are not excluded by the hearsay rule, even though the declarant is available as a witness:
(1) Present sense impression. A statement describing or explaining an event or condition made while the declarant was perceiving the event or condition, or immediately thereafter.
(2) Excited utterance. A statement relating to a startling event or condition made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement caused by the event or condition.
(3) Then existing mental, emotional, or physical condition. A statement of the declarant's then existing state of mind, emotion, sensation, or physical condition (such as intent, play, motive, design, mental feeling, pain, and bodily health), but not including a statement of memory or belief to prove the fact remembered or believed unless it relates to the execution, revocation, identification, or terms of declarant's will.
(4) Statements for purposes of medical diagnosis or treatment. Statements made for purposes of medical diagnosis or treatment and describing medical history, or past or present symptoms, pain, or sensations, or the inception or general character of the cause or external source thereof insofar as reasonably pertinent to diagnosis or treatment.
(5) Recorded recollection. A memorandum or record concerning a matter about which a witness once had knowledge but now has insufficient recollection to enable him to testify fully and accurately, shown to have been made or adopted by the witness when the matter was fresh in his memory and to reflect that knowledge correctly. If admitted, the memorandum or record may be read into evidence but may not itself be received as an exhibit unless offered by an adverse party.
(6) Records of regularly conducted activity. A memorandum, report, record, or data compilation, in any form, of acts, events, conditions, opinions, or diagnoses, made at or near the time by, or from information transmitted by, a person with knowledge, if kept in the course of a regularly conducted business activity, and if it was the regular practice of that business activity to make the memorandum, report, record, or data compilation, all as shown by the testimony of the custodian or other qualified witness, unless the source of information or the method or circumstances of preparation indicate lack of trustworthiness. The term "business" as used in this paragraph includes business, institution, association, profession, occupation, and calling of every kind, whether or not conducted for profit.
(7) Absence of entry in records kept in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (6). Evidence that a matter is not included in the memoranda reports, records, or data compilations, in any form, kept in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (6), to prove the nonoccurrence or nonexistence of the matter, if the matter was of a kind of which a memorandum, report, record, or data compilation was regularly made and preserved, unless the sources of information or other circumstances indicate lack of trustworthiness.
(8) Public records and reports. Records, reports, statements, or data compilations, in any form, of public offices or agencies, setting forth (A) the activities of the office or agency, or (B) matters observed pursuant to duty imposed by law as to which matters there was a duty to report, excluding, however, in criminal cases matters observed by police officers and other law enforcement personnel, or (C) in civil actions and proceedings and against the government in criminal cases, factual findings resulting from an investigation made pursuant to authority granted by law, unless the sources of information or other circumstances indicate lack of trustworthiness.
(9) Records of vital statistic. Records or data compilations, in any form, of births, fetal deaths, deaths, or marriages, if the report thereof was made to a public office pursuant to requirements of law.
(10) Absence of public record or entry. To prove the absence of a record, report, statement, or data compilation in any form, or the nonoccurrence or nonexistence of a matter of which a record, report, statement, or data compilation, in any form, was regularly made and preserved by a public office or agency, evidence in the form of a certification in accordance with Rule 5.902, or testimony, that diligent search failed ot disclose the record, report, statement, or data compilation, or entry.
(11) Records of religious organizations. Statements of births, marriages, divorces, deaths, legitimacy, ancestry, relationship by blood or marriage, or other similar facts of personal or family history, contained in a regularly kept record of a religious organization.
(12) Marriage, baptismal, and similar certificates. Statements of fact contained in a certificate that the maker performed a marriage or other ceremony or administered a sacrament, made by a clergyman, public official, or other person authorized by the rules or practices of a religious organization or by law to perform the act certified, and purporting to have been issued at the time of the act or within a reasonable time thereafter.
(13) Family records. Statements of fact concerning personal or family history contained in family Bibles, genealogies, charts, engravings on rings, inscriptions on family portraits, engravings on urns, crypts, or tombstones, or the like.
(14) Records of documents affecting an interest in property. The record of a document purporting to establish or affect an interest in property, as proof of the content of the original recorded document and its execution and delivery by each person by whom it purports to have been executed, if the record is a record of a public office and an applicable statute authorizes the recording of documents of that kind in that office.
(15) Statements in documents affecting an interest in property. A statement contained in a document purporting to establish or affect an interest in property if the matter stated was relevant to the purpose of the document, unless dealings with the property since the document was made have been inconsistent with the truth of the statement or the purport of the document.
(16) Statements in ancient documents. Statements in a document in existence twenty years or more the authenticity of which is established.
(17) Market reports, commercial publications. Market quotations, tabulations, lists, directories, or other published compilations, generally used and relied upon by the public or by persons in particular occupations.
(18) Learned treatises. To the extent called to the attention of an expert witness upon cross-examination or relied upon by him in direct examination, statements contained in published treatises, periodicals, or pamphlets on a subject of history, medicine, or other science or art, established as a reliable authority by the testimony or admission of the witness or by other expert testimony or by judicial notice. If admitted, the statements may be read into evidence but may not be received as exhibits.
(19) Reputation concerning personal or family history. Reputation among members of his family by blood, adoption, or marriage, or among his associates, or in the community, concerning a person's birth, adoption, marriage, divorce, death, legitimacy, relationship by blood, adoption, or marriage, ancestry, or other similar fact of his personal or family history.
(20) Reputation concerning boundaries or general history. Reputation in a community, arising before the controversy, as to boundaries of or customs affecting lands in the community, and reputation as to events of general history important to the community or state or nation in which located.
(21) Reputation as to character. Reputation of a person's character among his associates or in the community.
(22) Judgment of previous conviction. Evidence of a final judgment, entered after a trial or upon a plea of guilty (but not upon a plea of nolo contendere), adjudging a person guilty of a crime punishable by death or imprisonment in excess of one year, to prove any fact essential to sustain the judgment, but not including, when offered by the government in a criminal prosecution for purposes other than impeachment, judgments against persons other than the accused. The pendency of an appeal may be shown but does not affect admissibility.
(23) Judgment as to personal, family or general history, or boundaries. Judgments as proof of matters of personal, family or general history, or boundaries, essential to the judgment, if the same would be provable by evidence of reputation.
(24) Other exceptions. A statement not specifically covered by any of the foregoing exceptions but having equivalent circumstantial guarantees of trustworthiness, if the court determines that (A) the statement is offered as evidence of a material fact; (B) the statement is more probative on the point for which it is offered than any other evidence which the proponent can procure through reasonable efforts; and (C) the general purposes of these rules and the interests of justice will best be served by admission of the statement into evidence. However, a statement may not be admitted under this exception unless the proponent of it makes known to the adverse party sufficiently in advance of the trial or hearing to provide the adverse party with a fair opportunity to prepare to meet it, his intention to offer the statement and the particulars of it, including the name and address of the declarant.
(a) Definition of unavailability. "Unavailability as a witness" includes situations in which the declarant-
(1) is exempted by ruling of the court on the ground of privilege from testifying concerning the subject matter of his statement; or
(2) persists in refusing to testify concerning the subject matter of his statement despite an order of the court to do so; or
(3) testifies to a lack of memory of the subject matter of his statement; or
(4) is unable to be present or to testify at the hearing because of death or then existing physical or mental illness or infirmity; or
(5) is absent from the hearing and the proponent of his statement has been unable to procure his attendance (or in the case of a hearsay exception under subdivision (b)(2), (3), or (4), his attendance or testimony) by process or other reasonable means. A declarant is not unavailable as a witness if his exemption, refusal, claim of lack of memory, inability, or absence is due to the procurement or wrongdoing of the proponent of his statement for the purpose of preventing the witness from attending or testifying.
(b) Hearsay exceptions. The following are not excluded by the hearsay rule if the declarant is unavailable as a witness:
(1) Former testimony. Testimony given as a witness at another hearing of the same or a different proceeding, or in a deposition taken in compliance with law in the course of the same or another proceeding, if the party against whom the testimony is now offered, or, in a civil action or proceeding, a predecessor in interest, had an opportunity and similar motive to develop the testimony by direct, cross, or redirect examination.
(2) Statement under belief of impending death. In a prosecution for homicide or in a civil action or proceeding, a statement made by a declarant while believing that his death was imminent, concerning the cause or circumstances of what he believed to be his impending death.
(3) Statement against interest. A statement which was at the time of its making so far contrary to the declarant's pecuniary or proprietary interest, or so far tended to subject him to civil or criminal liability, or to render invalid a claim by him against another, that a reasonable man in his position would not have made the statement unless he believed it to be true. A statement tending to expose the declarant to criminal liability and offered to exculpate the accused is not admissible unless corroborating circumstances clearly indicate the trustworthiness of the statement.
(4) Statement of personal or family history. (A) A statement concerning the declarant's own birth, adoption, marriage, divorce, legitimacy, relationship by blood, adoption, or marriage, ancestry, or other similar fact of personal or family history, even though declarant had no means of acquiring personal knowledge of the matter stated; or (B) a statement concerning the foregoing matters, and death also, of another person, if the declarant was related to the other by blood, adoption, or marriage or was so intimately associated with the other's family as to be likely to have accurate information concerning the matter declared.
(5) Other exceptions. A statement not specifically covered by any of the foregoing exceptions but having equivalent circumstantial guarantees of trustworthiness, if the court determines that (A) the statement is offered as evidence of a material fact; (B) the statement is more probative on the point for which it is offered than any other evidence which the proponent can procure through reasonable efforts; and (C) the general purposes of these rules and the interests of justice will best be served by admission of the statement into evidence. However, a statement may not be admitted under this exception unless the proponent of it makes known to the adverse party sufficiently in advance of the trial or hearing to provide the adverse party with a fair opportunity to prepare to meet it, his intention to offer the statement and the particulars of it, including the name and address of the declarant.
Hearsay included within hearsay is not excluded under the hearsay rule if each part of the combined statements conforms with an exception to the hearsay rule provided in these rules.
When a hearsay statement, or a statement defined in 801 (d)(2), (C), (D) or (E) TCREv, has been admitted in evidence, the credibility of the declarant may be attacked, and if attacked may be supported, by any evidence which would be admissible for those purposes if declarant had testified as a witness. Evidence of a statement or conduct by the declarant at any time, inconsistent with his hearsay statement, is not subject to any requirement that he may have been afforded an opportunity to deny or explain. If the party against whom a hearsay statement has been admitted calls the declarant as a witness, the party is entitled to examine him on the statement as if under cross-examination.
ARTICLE IX. AUTHENTICATION AND IDENTIFICATION.
(a) General Provision. The requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.
(b) Illustrations. By way of illustration only, and not by way of limitation, the following are examples of authentication or identification conforming with the requirements of this rule:
(1) Testimony of witness with knowledge. Testimony that a matter is what it is claimed to be.
(2) Nonexpert opinion on handwriting. Non-expert opinion as to the genuineness of hand-writing, based upon familiarity not acquired for purposes of the litigation.
(3) Comparison by trier or expert witness. Comparison by the trier of fact or by expert witnesses with specimens which have been authenticated.
(4) Distinctive characteristics and the like. Appearance, contents, substance, internal patterns, or other distinctive characteristics, taken in conjunction with circumstances.
(5) Voice identification. Identification of a voice, whether heard firsthand or through mechanical or electronic transmission or recording, by opinion based upon hearing the voice at any time under circumstances connecting it with the alleged speaker.
(6) Telephone conversation. Telephone conversations, by evidence that a call was made to the number assigned at the time by the telephone company to a particular person or business, if (A) in the case of a person, circumstances, including self-identification, show the person answering to be the one called, or (B) in the case of a business, the call was made to a place of business and the conversation related to business reasonably transacted over the
(7) Public records or reports. Evidence that a writing authorized by law to be recorded or filed and in fact recorded or filed in a public office, or a purported public record, report, statement, or date compilation, in any form, is from the public office where items of this nature are kept.
(8) Ancient documents or data compilation. Evidence that a document or data compilation, in any form, (A) is in such condition as to create no suspicion concerning its authenticity, (B) was in a place where it, if authentic, would likely be, and (C) has been in existence 20 years or more at the time it is offered.
(9) Process or system. Evidence describing a process or system used to produce a result and showing that the process or system produces an accurate result.
(10) Methods provided by statute or rule. Anymethod of authentication or identification provided by Act of the Fono.
Extrinsic evidence of authenticity as a condition precedent to admissibility is not required with respect to the following:
(1) Domestic public documents under seal. A document bearing a seal purporting to be that of the American Samoa Government, the United States, or of any state, district, commonwealth, territory, or insular possession thereof, or of a political subdivision, department, officer, or agency thereof, and a signature purporting to be an attestation or execution.
(2) Domestic public documents not under seal. A document purporting to bear the signature in his official capacity of an officer or employee of any entity included in paragraph (1) hereof, having no seal, if a public officer having a seal and having official duties in the district or political subdivision of the officer or employee certifies under seal that the signer has the official capacity and that the signature is genuine.
(3) Foreign public documents. A document purporting to e executed or attested in his official capacity by a person authorized by the laws of a foreign country or authorized by local procedures to make the execution or attestation, and accompanied by a final certification as to the genuineness of the signature and official position (A) of the executing or attesting person, or (B) of any foreign or local official whose certificate of genuineness of signature and official position relates to the execution or attestation or is in a chain of certificates of genuineness of signature and official position relating ot the execution or attestation. A final certification may be made by a secretary of embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice consul, consular agent of the United States, or official of the American Samoa Government, or a diplomatic or consular official of the foreign country assigned or accredited to the United States. If reasonable opportunity has been given to all parties to investigate the authenticity and accuracy of official documents, the court may, for good cause shown, order that they be treated as presumptively authentic without final certification or permit them to be evidenced by an attested summary with or without final certification.
(4) Certified copies of Public records. A copy of an official record or report or entry therein, or of a document authorized by law to be recorded or filed and actually recorded or filed in a public office, including data compilations in any form, certified as correct by the custodian or other person authorized to make the certification, by certificate complying with paragraph (1), (2) or (3) of this rule or complying with any Act of the Fono.
(5) Official Publications. Books, pamphlets, or other publications purporting to be issued by public authority.
(6) Newspapers and periodicals. Printed materials purporting to be newspapers or periodicals.
(7) Trade inscriptions and the like. Inscriptions, signs, tags, or labels purporting to have been affixed in the course of business and indicating ownership, control, or origin.
(8) Acknowledged documents. Documents accompanied by a certificate of acknowledgment executed in the manner provided by law by a notary public or other officer authorized by law to take acknowledgments.
(9) Commercial paper and related documents. Commercial paper, signatures thereon, and documents relating thereto to the extent provided by general commercial law.
(10) Presumptions under Acts of the Fono. Any signature, document, or other matter declared by Act of the Fono to be presumptively or prima facie genuine or authentic.
The testimony of a subscribing witness is not necessary to authenticate a writing unless required by the laws of the jurisdiction whose laws govern the validity of the writing.
CONTENTS OF WRITINGS, RECORDINGS, AND PHOTOGRAPHS.
For purposes of this article the following definitions are applicable:
(1) Writings and recordings. "Writings" and "recordings" consist of letters, words, or numbers, or their equivalent, set down by handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, magnetic impulse, mechanical or electronic recording, or other form of data compilation.
(2) Photographs. "Photographs" include still photographs, X-ray films, video tapes, and motion pictures.
(3) Original. An "original" of a writing or recording is the writing or recording itself or any counterpart intended to have the same effect by a person executing or issuing it. An "original" of a photograph includes the negative or any print therefrom. If data are stored in a computer or similar device, any printout or other output readable by sight, shown to reflect the data accurately, is an "original".
(4) Duplicate. A "duplicate" is a counter-part produced by the same impression as the original, or from the same matrix, or by means of photography, including enlargements and miniatures, or by mechanical or electronic re-recording, or by chemical reproduction, or by other equivalent techniques which accurately reproduces the original.
To prove the content of a writing, recording, or photograph, the original writing, recording, or photograph is required, except as otherwise provided in these rules or by Act of the Fono.
A duplicate is admissible to the same extent as an original unless (1) a genuine question is raised as to the authenticity of the original or (2) in the circumstances it would be unfair to admit the duplicate in lieu of the original.
The original is not required, and other evidence of the contents of a writing, recording, or photograph is admissible if-
(1) Originals lost or destroyed. All originals are lost or have been destroyed, unless the proponent lost or destroyed them in bad faith; or
(2) Originals not obtainable. No original can be obtained by any available judicial process or procedure; or
(3) Original in possession of opponent. At a time when an original was under the control of the party against whom offered, he was put on notice, by the pleadings or otherwise, that the contents would be subject of proof at the hearing, and he does not produce the original at the hearing; or
(4) Collateral matters. The writing, recording, or photograph is not closely related to a controlling issue.
The contents of an official record, or of a document authorized to be recorded or filed and actually recorded or filed, including data compilations in any form, if otherwise admissible, may be proved by copy, certified as correct in accordance with Rule 902 or testified to be correct by a witness who has compared it with the original. If a copy which complies with the foregoing cannot be obtained by the exercise of reasonable diligence, then other evidence of the contents may be given.
The contents of voluminous writings, recordings, or photographs which cannot conveniently be examined in court may be presented in the form of a chart, summary, or calculation. The originals, or duplicates, shall be made available for examination or copying, or both, by other parties at a reasonable time and place. The court may order that they be produced in court.
Contents of writings, recordings, or photographs may be proved by the testimony or deposition of the party against whom offered or by his written admission, without accounting or the nonproduction of the original.
When the admissibility of other evidence of contents of writings, recordings, or photographs under these rules depends upon the fulfillment of a condition of fact, the question whether the condition has been fulfilled is ordinarily for the court to determine in accordance with the provisions of Rule 5.104. However, when an issue is raised (a) whether the asserted writing ever existed, or (b) whether another writing, recording, or photograph produced at the trial is the original, or (c) whether other evidence of contents correctly reflects the contents, the issue is for the trier of fact to determine as in the case of other issues of fact.
ARTICLE XI. MISCELLANEOUS RULES.
(a) Courts. These rules apply to all courts of American Samoa,
(b) Proceedings generally. These rules apply generally to civil actions and proceedings, including maritime cases, to criminal cases and proceedings, to land and titles proceedings, and to contempt proceedings except those in which the court may act summarily.
(c) Rules of privilege. The rules with respect to privilege apply at all stages of all actions, cases, and proceedings.
(d) Rules inapplicable. The rules (other than with respect to privilege) do not apply in the following situations:
(l) Preliminary questions of fact. The determination of questions of fact
preliminary to admissibility of evidence when the issue is to be determined by the
court under Rule 104.
(3) Miscellaneous proceedings. Proceedings for extradition or rendition; preliminary examinations in criminal cases; sentencing or granting or revoking probation; issuance of warrants for arrest, criminal summonses, and search warrants; and proceedings with
respect to release on bail or otherwise.