Situated at Pritchard Family lands in the American Samoa Village of Leone, where the catastrophic tsunami of 2009 took so many lives, Fuamete is the site of a very different turbulence, a virtually continuous history of litigation and discontent. Family are buried there, but access is denied. The map is not settled. Houses are in the wrong place. People have bought property not owned by the seller.
Fuamete troubles began in 1949, when Lena sought to partition the undivided shares. Initially, five heirs of Alfred James inherited Fuamete, but (our record is incomplete), the number became three. Heirs of one or two family branches did not appear in court and were therefore defaulted. In time, one more heir was removed from the titles at Fuamete, when his share was “lost” since pledged as collateral for medical expense, leaving only two: Lena’s heirs and William (“Billy”).
In 1982, the family had transferred Fuamete to the D & F Trust for Mike and Frances in settlement, Frances retaining 1/6. No document appears taking it out of the D & F trust. Mike sought to sell as soon as possible. Transfers appeared from Mark to others, by way of sale, around 2000 and, while a title history showed that Mike had registered it in his name only, (docs pending) nothing appears to show Frances relinquished her share to him, or that Mike transferred land to Mark when he sold it to others. Mike’s deposition explains. Determined to sell the remaining land, eviction was planned for the alleged trespassers who in turn sued for adverse possession. They lost their counterclaim and promptly appealed (see decision) which they next lost.
In the meantime Attorney Alailima brought constitutional claims with Frances and Keshon Pritchard Lua as plaintiffs against the American Samoa government, (Hall participating) which claims were denied. Frances knew nothing of, or does not recall, this suit.
Mike recently (2016) sought to register Fuamete in his name only without notice to 1/6 owner Frances, his lawyer Hall arguing Frances was “not a party.” A race to enjoin the registration or any order approving was begun, which the court took “under advisement.” We do not yet have that transcript.