1.0411 Removal of title for cause—Service of petition—Default—Selection of successor.

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(a) A matai title may be removed by the High Court upon a petition for removal filed in the High Court by 25 blood members of the matai’s family, over 18 years of age, who at the time of the petition are all serving the matai and family according to Samoan custom.

(b) Service of the petition for removal of the title shall be made in the manner provided in 43.0502 except that the posting of the required notice shall be for 30 days on the bulletin board of the administration building in Utulei and in 2 public places in the village to which the title is attached such notice to be in both the English and Samoan languages.

(c) Proof of service shall be made in accordance with 43.0503.

(d) If no answer is filed and no appearance is made at the hearing of the cause, either in person or by counsel, the court may find the defendant in default and enter judgment for the petitioners without further hearing.

(e) The court shall transmit to the Territorial Registrar a copy of the court’s decision in all removal cases and the Territorial Registrar shall follow the Court’s decision.

(f) Upon removal of a matai title under the procedures set forth in this section, another matai shall be selected by the family in accordance with the traditions of the family.

History: 1962, PL 7-38; 1968, PL 10-61;amd 1973, PL 13-14.

Amendments: 1973 Subsection (a): Amended generally to provide for petition by 25 members over 18 years of age.

Case Notes:

Persons of higher matai title within family are required to serve lesser matai titles, and hence are included among those in “family actively serving the matai” for purposes of RCAS 6.0110(1) Tuiteleleapaga Family v. Filoali’i, 4 ASR 24 (1971).

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

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