43.0801 Powers.

Cite as [A.S.C.A. § 43.0801]

(a) The Appellate Division of the High Court shall have power on appeal or review to affirm, modify, set aside, or reverse the judgment or order appealed from or reviewed and to remand the case with such direction for a new trial or for the entry of judgment as may be just.

(b) The findings of fact of the trial, probate and Land and Titles Divisions of the High Court may not be set aside by the Appellate Division unless clearly erroneous.

History: 1962, PL 7-36; 1967, PL 10-17; 1969, PL 11-54.

Case Notes:

Although no clearly erroneous findings of fact, in the future, a series of legal conclusions, unsupported by meaningful discussion, may form basis of a reversal, in re “Fanene”, ASR (1977).

Construes “clearly erroneous”, Tuiagamoa v. Tomasi, ASR (1977).

Appellate Division is bound by findings of fact of Trial Court unless clearly erroneous. RCAS 3.0503. Willis v. Government, 4 ASR 926 (1965).

Appellate Division of the High Court will not set aside findings of fact of trial court unless clearly erroneous. RCAS 3.0503. Utu V. Aumoeualogo, 4 ASR 906 (1964).

Appellate court will not set aside findings of fact by Trial Division of he High Court unless clearly erroneous. RCAS 3.0503. Taufaasau v. Manuma, 4 ASR 947 (1967).

Disparity from place to place in amounts generally awarded for pain and suffering is accounted for by many factors, including variations in the value of money and in social attitudes toward pain, and that awards tend to be lower in American Samoa than in some other jurisdictions does not make such an award clearly erroneous. A.S.C.A. § 43.0801. Kim v. Star-Kist Samoa, Inc., 8 A.S.R.2d 146 (1988).

Appellate court has no authority to increase the amount of damages awarded by trial court unless the amount was clearly erroneous. A.S.C.A. § 43.0801. Kim v. Star-Kist Samoa, Inc., 8 A.S.R.2d 146 (1988).

Appellate division of territorial court reviews findings of fact by Land and Titles Division for clear error. A.S.C.A. § 43.0801(b). Tuileata v. Amituana`i, 8 A.S.R.2d 173 (1988).

There is no clear error requiring appellate division to reverse a decision denying registration of land where (1) prior cases relied on by the appellant to show his presence in the area concerned another tract of land and (2) witnesses testified that appellant neither had houses or plantations in the area nor, owing to his long absence from the territory, had knowledge of the true extent of his family lands. A.S.C.A. § 43.0801(b). Tuileata v. Amituana`i, 8 A.S.R.2d 173 (1988).

Where each party has presented evidence to the trial court which supports its own claim to land ownership, the trial court's findings will not be disturbed on appeal unless clearly erroneous. A.S.C.A. § 43.0801(b). Suapilimai v. Faleafine, 9 A.S.R.2d 16 (1988).

Trial court findings of fact for which there is substantial evidence in the record are not clearly erroneous, and will not be disturbed on appeal, even though there is also substantial evidence in the record that would have supported a contrary finding by the trial court. A.S.C.A. § 43.0801(b). Suapilimai v. Faleafine, 9 A.S.R.2d 16 (1988).

Appellant who seeks to overturn the trial court's findings of fact on appeal bears the heavy burden of showing that these findings were "clearly erroneous" in light of the record. A.S.C.A. § 43.0801(b). Toleafoa v. Tiapula, 12 A.S.R.2d 56 (1989).

Where trial court finding that appellant had relinquished possession of house by many years of absence was supported by testimony that appellant lived in another village and rarely visited the village in which the disputed house was located, the finding was not clearly erroneous and appellate court would not disturb it. A.S.C.A. § 43.0801(b). Toleafoa v. Tiapula, 12 A.S.R.2d 56 (1989).

It is not within the province of the appellate court to re-weigh the evidence and interfere with a decision based on the lower court's choice of one version of the facts over another; findings of facts may not be set aside by the appellate court unless clearly erroneous. A.S.C.A. § 43.0801(b). Utuutuvanu v. Mataituli, 12 A.S.R.2d 88 (1989).

Trial court's finding of facts may not be set aside on appeal unless clearly erroneous. A.S.C.A. § 43.0801(b). Moea`i v. Alai`a, 12 A.S.R.2d 91 (1989).

The trial division's factual findings may not be set aside by the appellate division unless clearly erroneous. A.S.C.A. § 43.0801(b); T.C.R.C.P. 52(a). Saufo'i v. American Samoa Gov't, 19 A.S.R.2d 54 (1991).

The "clearly erroneous" standard is used by an appellate court to test a lower court's findings of negligence, as well as related findings such as "proximate cause." A.S.C.A. § 43.0801(b); T.C.R.C.P. 52(a). Saufo'i v. American Samoa Gov't, 19 A.S.R.2d 54 (1991).

In resolving issues of witnesses' credibility, motive, and character, the Appellate Division is limited to the trial court's transcripts and will presume their determinations to be correct, unless clearly erroneous. A.S.C.A. § 43.0801(b). Rocha v. Rocha, 20 A.S.R.2d 63 (1992).

On appeal, a clearly erroneous standard applied to questions of fact, but questions of law are reviewed de novo. A.S.C.A. § 43.0801(b). Anderson v. Vaivao, 21 A.S.R.2d 95 (1992).