Fanene v. Seva’aetasi,

Series: 3ASR2d | Year: 1986 | 3ASR2d108
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and LOTOA GI TAVAI, Defendants

High Court of American Samoa
Land & Titles Division

LT. No. 33-86

November 5, 1986


Legal Practitioner who has served as arbitrator in a land dispute in his capacity as an employee of the Office of Samoan Affairs may not serve as counsel to one of the parties in a case resulting from the same dispute.

Before REES, Chief Justice, TAUANU’U, Chief Associate Judge, and AFUOLA, Associate Judge.

Counsel: For the Plaintiff, Aviata Fa’alevao
For the Defendants, Charles Ala’ilima and Asaua Fuimaono
For the prospective Intervenor, Puleleite Tufele

We took under advisement the motion of Uiva Te’o to intervene. At the time we believed that this motion had been served on all but one of the parties. We have since discovered that the returns of service in the record were for another document, and that there is no return of service of this motion on any party.

It also appears from the record that the legal practitioner representing the prospective intervenor was also the arbitrator in the Office of Samoan Affairs proceedings in this case. This is a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility of the American Samoa Bar Association. See Ethical Consideration 5-20: “After a lawyer has undertaken to act as an impartial arbitrator or mediator, he should not thereafter represent in the dispute any of the parties involved.”

The motion to intervene is denied, without prejudice to the right of the party to bring another motion through other counsel and with proper notice to all parties.