POHNPEI SUPREME COURT TRIAL DIVISION
Cite as Hadley v. Board of Trustees
3 FSM Intrm. 14 (Pon. S. Ct. Tr. 1985)
[3 FSM Intrm. 14]
THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE
POHNPEI STATE PUBLIC LANDS AUTHORITY,
SHELTEN NETH, DION NETH AND
PCA NO. 128-84
RULING ON PETITIONER'S
APPLICATION FOR A DEFAULT
Before Edwel H. Santos
Pohnpei State Supreme Court
December 16, 1985
For the Petitioner: Mary Elieisar
Micronesian Legal Services Corporation
Pohnpei, FSM 96941
For the Respondents: Delson Ehmes
(PLA) State Attorney
Pohnpei State Government
Kolonia, Pohnpei 96941
For the Respondents: Sungiwo Hadley
(Neths) Trial Counselor
Pohnpei, FSM 96941
* * * *
Civil Procedure; Custom and Tradition
The Court must try to apply the Court Rules of Civil Procedure in a way that is consistent with local Customary practice. Hadley v. Board of Trustees, 3 FSM Intrm. 14, 16 (Pon. S. Ct. Tr. 1985).
Courts; Custom and Tradition
Judicial decisions, including interpretations of rules of civil procedure, should be consistent with the Constitution and with the Pohnpeian concept of justice. Hadley v. Board of Trustees, 3 FSM Intrm. 14, 16 (Pon. S. Ct. Tr. 1985).
* * * *
EDWEL H. SANTOS, Chief Justice:
Hearing on petitioner's application for a default judgment was held on November 28, 1985. Mary Elieisar of the Micronesian Legal Services Corporation appeared on behalf of petitioner. Sungiwo Hadley appeared on behalf of respondent Board of Trustees, hereinafter "Board," and Delson Ehmes appeared on behalf of respondents Shelten Neth, Dion Neth, and Midion Neth, hereinafter "Neth."
The herein application for default judgment is sought by the petitioner against respondents Neth "for the relief demanded in the amended petition for
a Writ of Mandamus in this case." The relief sought in the above-mentioned amended petition is for the Court to issue a writ of mandamus compelling respondent to void the lease to Lot No. 012-A-38 located in Kolonia Town, Pohnpei State and to eject occupants therefrom.
The petitioner is correct in urging the entry of a default judgment against respondents Neth on the basis of their failure to plead pursuant to our rules. Pon. Civ. R. 50(a). However, in the application of the Court Rules of Procedure, we must always ensure such application be given a fair reconciliation with local customary practices, Ambros & Co. v. Ponape Builders, CA No. 50-83, so that the Pohnpeian concept of justice does not unconsciously fade away. Inasmuch as this is the first mandamus case ever brought before this new Court, I feel quite strongly that application of the rule too strictly will yield an undesirable result - the truth can never be ascertained and the Pohnpeian concept of justice can never be promoted. We need not overlook United States Chief Justice Warren E. Burger's characterization and recommendation made to the American Bar Association relating to the American legal system, which adopted and utilized the adversary process similar to that which was introduced to Micronesia and became, without our consciousness, the system in Micronesia, including Pohnpei. In his characterization, Chief Justice Burger said:
Our system is too costly, too painful, too destructive, too inefficient for a truly civilized people. To rely on the adversary process as the principal means of resolving conflicting claims is a mistake that must be corrected.
Burger, The State of Justice, A.B.A.J., Apr. 1984, at 62, 66. Pohnpei has its own traditional means of dispute resolution (which is recognized and can be utilized by this Court), and having been forewarned about the inequities of the adversary system, it is an opportune time for Pohnpei to make necessary corrections in our legal system and to set the course in the development of our legal system in a more acceptable order, so that our citizens, now and in the future, will not regret too harshly thecourse we chose to follow under the authority of our Constitutional Government.
Entry of a default judgment, as is sought here will, in my opinion, serve no useful purpose other than to impede respondents from bringing in any defense which might be useful in the determination of the case on its merits, as to whether or not to issue a writ of mandamus.
Having been forewarned of the foregoing, and being guided by the judicial mandate that our decisions be consistent with our constitution and the Pohnpeians' concept of justice, Pon. Const. art. 10, § 11, I find it imperative that we search for the truth as it existed and then we render our decision based on such truth as revealed, rather than on what has developed technically after the truth.
For these reasons and with due respect to the petitioners view, I must
respectfully deny petitioner's application for a default judgment. Application Denied.