Alega plaintiffs name 36 defendants in new multi-million dollar lawsuit
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The American Samoa Government along with current and former ASG officials — inducing Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga and former Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga — as well as American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) - and two of its top officials, plus ASPA board members — and the American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority (ASTCA) and its current and former chief executive officers — are all named as defendants in a new mufti-million dollar civil lawsuit filed by four Alega residents and the Alega Preservation Sanctuary and Reserve at the federal court in Honolulu.
Also sued is the privately owned AST Telecom, dba Bluesky Communications along with current and former executives. In total there are 36 defendants and the new lawsuit is similar but not identical to the one pending at the federal court in Honolulu against AST Telecom, as well as separate ones at the High Court of American Samoa.
The 200-plus page complaint, by plaintiffs Steven Jay Pincus Hueter, Rosalia Tisa Faamuli, Chief Faamuli Pete Faamuli, and Michael S. Kirk claims that the defendants — in the new civil case filed Apr. 26th — violated federal population laws, federal environmental protection laws, federal endangered species protection laws, and federal marine sanctuary protection laws.
According to the plaintiffs the alleged violations of federal laws occurred within private Alega Marine and Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserve on its land and in its waters, and the private Alega Marine Protected Area in Alega village and including on the land and waters of the private and communally owned and managed land of the individual Samoan plaintiffs in Alega village.
The complaint further alleges that the defendants — AST Telecom, ASTCA, ASPA and ASG — left pollution on plaintiff’s land and water, and thereby the defendants have injured plaintiffs by, improperly leaving hazardous, unused, cable-related material and debris and pollution on Plaintiffs’ trees, on Plaintiffs’ land and water, and on the official private Alega Marine and Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserve, and on the land and water of the private Alega Marine Protected Area in Alega Bay thus polluting the endangered and threatened species habitat in the private Alega Marine Protected Area.
Plaintiffs request the court for a permanent injunction enjoining the defendants from leaving unused utility poles, equipment, cables, debris, refuse, or any other hazardous material or pollution on Plaintiffs’ land, plantation, trees, water, or marine and wildlife sanctuary, reservation and reserve, and on the private Alega Marine Protected Area, and polluting the endangered and threatened species habitat in the private Alega Marine Protected Area.
A permanent injection is also being sought against the defendants for failing to clean and remove all unused utility poles, and cable-related debris and unused material or pollution on Plaintiff’s water and land along the coast of Alega Village in American Samoa and from the water and land of the private Alega Marine and Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserve, and private Alega Marine Protected Area, and polluting the endangered and threatened species habitat in the private Alega Marine Protected Area.
Plaintiffs are seeking a total of $8 million compensatory damages and a total of $800 million in punitive damages — or as the court deems appropriate for the illegal, negligent, willful, intentional, callous, indifferent, disrespectful and purposeful leaving of unused equipment, cables, debris, refuse, unused utility poles, or any other hazardous material or pollution on Plaintiffs’ land, plantation, trees, water, or marine and wildlife sanctuary, reservation and preserve.
Plaintiffs accused the defendants of “flagrantly polluting the environment and harming endangered species” in the private Alega Marine Protected Area for more than 10 years.
Besides the motion for permanent injunction, the plaintiffs have also filed a motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the defendants. No date is set yet in court records for when the defendants are to respond to the lawsuit or a response to the TRO and permanent injunction.