37.0103 Notice-Adverse claim.

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(a) Notice of the proposed registration shall be posted for 60 days on the bulletin board at the courthouse in Fagatogo and at 2 public places in the village in which or nearest to which the land is located and shall be published in a local newspaper at least once each 30 days during the 60-day notice period.

(b) During such 60-day period anyone claiming an interest in the land adverse to that of the applicant or applicants for registration may file notice of adverse claim with the Territorial Registrar.

(c) The Territorial Registrar shall not register any land until the applicant has provided notarized statements from the pulenu’u, newspaper, and clerk of the court, each of which states that the required notice has been given.

(d) If no notice of adverse claim is filed within the 60-day period, and all the requirements of this chapter have been complied with, the Territorial Registrar shall register the title to such land in the name or names of the applicant or applicants.

History: 1962, PL 7-31; 1968, PL 10-38: amd 1977, 15-39 § 3, amd 1979, PL 16-5 § 3, readopted 1980, PL 16-88 §§ 1, 2; 1982, PL 17-31 §§ 1, 2; and 1988 PL 20-61; and 1989 PL 21-1.

Amendments: 1977, 1979 Subsection (a) changed “Administration Building in Utulei” to “Court House in Fagatogo.”

Reviser’s Comment: As required by Art. 1, § 3 and Art. 11 § 9 of the American Samoa Constitution, this amendment was passed by two successive Legislatures.

Case Notes:

Objection to application to register land must be filed within 60 days after application was tiled, and objection not fled in time cannot be considered. RCAS 100112. Pullet v Mollify. 4 ASR 672 (1965).

Court would not invalidate a land title registered forty years earlier on the ground that the Territorial Registrar’s file did not contain a certificate that the required notice of a survey had been given, since the certificate might have been misplaced during the intervening years and since the court could assume that the Registrar would comply with the statute prohibiting acceptance of the registration without the required certificate. A.S.C.A. § 37.0103. Ifopo v. Siatu’u, 10 A.S.R.2d 66 (1989).

Where plaintiff offered land for registration which was not finally registered until a dispute with an objector was settled seven years later, defendant’s intervening registration of land which partly overlapped the land claimed in plaintiff’s pending registration was void to the extent of the overlap, since defendant had not timely objected to plaintiff’s initial offer of registration of the land. A.S.C.A. § 37.0103. Lealaimatafao v. Misiaita, 17 A.S.R.2d 110 (1990).

Party who does not timely object to another’s offer to register land cannot later claim such land by filing a notice of adverse claim or by offering to and registering title to such land. A.S.C.A. §§ 37.0103, 37.0101(b). Lealaimatafao v. Misiaita, 17 A.S.R.2d 110 (1990).

Absent compelling proof to the contrary, the court will assume that the Territorial Registrar recorded a land title only after complying with his legal obligations, including notice requirements. A.S.C.A. § 37.0103. Asifoa v. Faoa, 21 A.S.R.2d 88 (1992).

Inadequacies of affidavit of posting may be supplemented on remand by testimony showing actual compliance with statutory guidelines. A.S.C.A. § 37.0103(a). Vaimaona v. Tuitasi, 18 A.S.R.2d 88 (1991).

The land-registration statutes do not require a certification or an affidavit by the Territorial Registrar or the High Court that notice was given for the required period. A.S.C.A. §§ 37.0103(c), 37.0104(b). Asifoa v. Faoa, 21 A.S.R.2d 91 (1992).

Statute prohibiting anyone but senior matai of Samoan family from bringing action to enjoin activities on communal land did not prohibit another member of family from objecting to registration of land by another family. A.S.C.A. §§ 37.0103, 43.1309. Sagatu v. Vaioli, 3 A.S.R.2d 97 (1986).

Complaint asserting ownership of land did not fail to state a claim because of plaintiff’s failure to comply with statutory requirement of timely objection to defendant’s prior registration of land, where pleadings did not establish that defendant had complied with statutory notice requirements for registration of land. T.C.R.C.P. Rule 12(b)(6); A.S.C.A. §§ 37.0102, 37.0103. Moeisogi v. Faleafine, 5 A.S.R.2d 131 (1987).

Court may not consider a claim to ownership of land by one who has not timely objected to registration of the land by another. A.S.C.A. § 37.0103. Falefia v. Sipili, 7 A.S.R.2d 1 (1988).

Statute providing that “no affidavit affecting the chain of title to real estate may be filed for record” without first being posted for sixty days does not apply to registrar’s certificate that notice of offer of land registration has been posted for sixty days, since (1) land registration statute does not require an affidavit or even an unsworn certificate of posting, but only that an affidavit of posting itself be posted would create an infinite regress under which no document could ever be filed and no land ever registered. A.S.C.A. §§ 37.0103, 37.0112. Meafua v. Taliu, 13 A.S.R.2d 13 (1989).

Where certificate of required posting of notice said that notice was posted at “the Administration Building” rather than at “the Court House” as required by statute, the court would take judicial notice that the certificate tracked the language of a former statute and that the registrar had for some years posted notice not at the Administration Building but at the Court House, which was itself the former Administration Building. A.S.C.A. § 37.0103. Vaimaona v. Tutasi (Mem.), 13 A.S.R.2d 76 (1989).

Individual title to land is registered in claimant’s name if the claim is publicly posted for sixty days, no adverse claim is lodged within that period, and all other statutory requirements are met. A.S.C.A. § 37.0103. Fania v. Sipili, 14 A.S.R.2d 70 (1990).

An affidavit of a posting of notice may be inadequate where: 1) it alleges that notice was posted for thirty-three days, as opposed to the requisite sixty days; 2) it was subscribed before the posting took place and thus was prepared without personal knowledge as to whether the posting actually took place; 3) it does not show the signature of the person qualified to take oaths and so may not have been made under oath; and 4) it states that notice was posted in a village different from that where the deed indicated the land is located. A.S.C.A. § 37.0103(a). Vaimaona v. Tuitasi, 18 A.S.R.2d 88 (1991).

A land-title registration was void when the required newspaper publication of a proposed registration and the certification of this notice was lacking. A.S.C.A. § 37.0103(a), (c). Timu v. McMoore, 24 A.S.R.2d 84 (1993).