American Samoa Gov’t; Congregational Church of Jesus in Samoa v.,

Series: 31ASR2d | Year: 1997 | 31ASR2d122
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[31 ASR2d 122]








High Court of American Samoa

Land and Titles Division


LT No. 3-96


January 13, 1997


[1]  A lessor waives its right to object to an assignment of a lease when it accepts the assignee’s performance under the lease terms, even if the lessee acted without the lessor’s affirmative consent to the assignment. 


[2]  The Legislature of American Samoa must by statute be given the opportunity to disapprove any lease of the ASG’s land for a period of 10 years or longer.  A.S.C.A. § 37.2030


[3]  The Legislature has 30 days after it receives a lease of ASG land for a period of 10 years or longer to adopt a disapproval resolution under § 37.2030.  Any lease subject to legislative review becomes effective only after this 30-day period passes without negative action. 


[4]  For the purposes of A.S.C.A. § 37.2030, the formal distinction between a lease “extension,” which continue an existing lease, and a lease “renewal,” which create an entirely new lease is irrelevant when a[31 ASR2d 123] lessee has unilateral power to continue the leasehold.  Unilateral options can give a lessee complete and exclusive control over the use of land, whether they are “extensions” or “renewals,” for prolonged periods without legislative review, something that § 37.2030 is designed to prevent.


[5]  Where, in addition to entry into possession under an invalid lease, rent is paid and accepted under the lease, a periodic tenancy is created.  By the payment and acceptance of such rent, the parties have given further indication of their intention to be bound by the invalid lease, and the periodic tenancy provides a measure of security of their expectations.   A periodic tenancy was terminable at the will of either the lessor or the lessee with one month’s notice. 


[6]  A claim of denial of due process, either procedural or substantive, cannot be sustained, absent proof of a deprivation of a ‘liberty’ or ‘property’ interest within the meaning of the Due Process Clause of Article I, § 2 of the Revised Constitution of American Samoa, or of the Fifth