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Fed court denies Hueter’s latest motion in constitutional rights case

Federal Courthouse Washington, D.C.
Injunctive relief “is an extraordinary remedy never awarded as of right”

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — In an order issued Mar. 3rd, US District Court Judge, Trevor N. McFadden with the federal court in Washington D.C has denied another request by local resident Steven Jay Pincus Hueter’s  for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction against federal and American Samoa defendants, whom the plaintiff accuses of violating his constitutional rights as a result of local COVID-19 restrictions.

“This is Hueter’s second motion for emergency relief within the last three weeks,” McFadden wrote in his two-page order, noting that in this recent filing, plaintiff seeks to enjoin the defendants — numerous federal and American Samoa government officials — from enforcing the American Samoa government’s February 19, 2021 Amended Declaration regarding COVID-19 restrictions.

“His motion also seems to particularly focus on the American Samoa government’s alleged misuse of CARES Act funds, and he seeks relief enjoining alleged misappropriation,” said McFadden.

Hueter sought — among other things — injunctive relief “prohibiting Defendants from placing Plaintiff’s life at risk by not properly preparing for Coronavirus-related public health emergencies and instead engaging in misuse, misallocation, and misappropriation of in-part Plaintiff’s taxpayer  Federal public CARES Act funds on non-coronavirus public health emergency related intentions, purposes and uses,” according to plaintiff’s filings.

Hueter’s specific allegations against the American Samoa defendants — including Chief Justice Michael Kruse, who is also a defendant in the federal lawsuit — for alleged misuse, misallocation, and misappropriation of CARES Act funds are identical to the claims plaintiff made in his similar lawsuit pending before the High Court of American Samoa.

In his order, McFadden explained — citing a 2008 federal ruling — that injunctive relief “is an extraordinary remedy never awarded as of right.”

According to the federal judge, the “Court finds that Hueter has not met his burden to show that the extraordinary relief of a temporary restraining order is warranted here.”

“The Court will, however, set a briefing schedule on his motion for a preliminary injunction to allow for expeditious consideration of his claim,” according to the order with a footnote, saying that to the “extent that Hueter’s motion requests a permanent injunction, Hueter has also asked for this relief in both his operative complaint, and his proposed amended complaint.”

McFadden said the “Court therefore finds that this is a non-emergency request that can be addressed through briefing on Hueter’s complaint and will deny Hueter’s motion insofar as it seeks a permanent injunction.”

Upon consideration of the Plaintiff’s motion for a TRO and Preliminary Injunction, the pleadings, relevant law, related legal memoranda, and the entire record of this case, McFadden ordered that the motion for TRO and Preliminary Injunction is denied insofar as it seeks a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction.

The court further ordered that parties shall adhere to the following briefing schedule on the Plaintiff’s request for a preliminary injunction: the Defendants shall file their opposition to the Plaintiff’s motion on or before March 17, 2021; the Plaintiff shall file his reply, if any, on or before March 24, 2021.

Samoa News will report in future editions on only the relevant new issues on this federal case, as there are so many sets of motions and filings by the plaintiffs filed with the federal court.