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Chapter 01 - General Provisions

Chapter 01 - General Provisions

43.0101 Clerk to fix High Court costs and fees.


(a) The clerk of the High Court of American Samoa shall, with the approval of the Chief Justice, fix all fees for services, filing fees and other court costs assessed by the judicial branch in connection with services rendered and not otherwise provided for in this code; provided, however, that such fees shall be set in an amount which is reasonable, fair and just compensation for the service rendered, at least in part defrays the costs of such service, and does not exceed the actual costs of providing the service.

(b) The cost of a transcript of proceedings of any court hearing or trial shall be fixed at no more than the rate charged for transcripts in the United States district courts.

(c) The per day cost of any High Court hearing or trial shall not exceed $25 for a trial day of ordinary and usual length; an additional amount may be assessed for any time in excess thereof.

43.0102 Fees and costs of Registrars of Vital Statistics and Titles.


The Registrar of Vital Statistics and the Territorial Registrar shall fix all filing fees and costs, with the approval of the Governor, for services rendered the public through their respective offices; provided, however, that such fees shall be set in an amount which is reasonable, fair and just compensation for the service so rendered, at least in part defrays the costs of such service, and does not exceed the actual costs of providing the service.

43.0103 Failure to pay fees or costs.


(a) Failure to pay court costs due the government pursuant to a decree, judgment, or court order shall constitute a contempt for which the body of the person in default may in the court’s discretion be attached.

(b) No such attachment shall be ordered unless payment is more than 30 days overdue.

(c) Before ordering actual attachment of the body, the court may allow the delinquent such time as it may see fit within which to make payment.

(d) A person whose body has been attached, may be permitted to work out such costs by such labor as the Attorney General may assign him. The Attorney General shall make a return to the clerk of the High Court showing the number of days of labor performed, and the clerk of the High Court shall credit on the delinquent court costs $1 for each day of labor performed.

(e) The period of attachment for contempt under this section shall not exceed in days the number of dollars of delinquent court costs.

(f) During such period as labor may be performed pursuant to this section, the attached person shall be released from confinement.

(g) Payment by a person whose body has been attached shall entitle the person to release.

43.0110 Authority to administer oath.


(a) The Governor, Secretary of American Samoa, Attorney General, Chief Justice, Associate Justice, clerk of the High Court and such other persons as shall be appointed by the Secretary of American Samoa shall have authority to administer all oaths and take acknowledgments for any purpose, and shall have, ex officio, the powers of a notary public. In addition, the following officials shall have authority to administer oaths and take acknowledgments to be used within the limits of American Samoa, to the extent specified:

(1) The associate judges of the High Court shall have authority to administer oaths and take acknowledgments in all cases within the jurisdiction of the High Court;

(2) The associate judges of the High Court and the clerks of the district courts shall have authority to administer oaths and take acknowledgments in all cases within the jurisdiction of the district courts;

(3) Members of the Legislature shall have the authority to administer oaths in accordance with the provisions of 2.1001.

(b) “Oath” as used in this section includes an affirmation and every other mode authorized by law of attesting to the truth of that which is stated.

43.0115 Transfer of cases-Venue.


Any case brought in the High Court or in a district court may, in the interest of justice and for the convenience of the parties and witnesses, be transferred by order of the Chief Justice or of the Associate Justice to any court in which it might have been brought originally.

43.0120 Limitation periods.


Actions may be brought within the following times after their causes accrue, and not afterward, except where otherwise especially declared:

(1) actions brought to set aside a will, within 6 months from the time the will is filed in the clerk’s office for probate and notice thereof is given;

(2) actions founded on injuries to the person or reputation, including injuries to relative rights, whether based on contract or tort, or for a statutory penalty, within 2 years;

(3) actions founded on unwritten contracts, or brought for injuries to property, within 3 years;

(4) actions to set aside a judgment or decree quieting title to real estate, within 5 years after the rendition of the judgment or decree;

(5) actions founded on written contracts, or a judgment of a court of record, within 10 years;

(6) actions brought for the recovery of real property, within 20 years;

(7) all actions for which no limitation period is provided, 3 years.

43.0121 Cause of action for fraud, mistake or trespass.


In actions for relief on the ground of fraud or mistake, and those for trespass to property, the cause of action shall not be deemed to have accrued until the fraud, mistake or trespass complained of shall have been discovered by the party aggrieved.

43.0122 Cause of action on open account.


When there is a continuous, open, concurrent account, the cause of action shall be deemed to have accrued on the date of the last item therein, as proved at trial.

43.0123 Limitation on executions.


An execution may issue at any time before judgment is barred by the statute of limitations.

43.0124 Death of party to be charged.


In all cases where, due to death of the party to be charged, the bringing of an action against his estate has been delayed beyond the period provided for by statute, the time within which action may be brought against his estate shall be extended for 6 months from the date of the death of the decedent.

43.0125 Death of party having cause of action.


If a person having a cause of action dies within 1 year next previous to the expiration of a limitation, such limitation does not apply until 1 year after such death.

43.0126 Commencement of action by minors and insane persons.


Minors and insane persons shall have 1 year from after the termination of such disability within which to commence any action regardless of any otherwise applicable limitation period.

43.0127 Period of nonresidence not included in limitation period.


The time during which a defendant is a nonresident of American Samoa shall not be included in the computation of any period of limitation.

43.0128 Revival of cause of action in contract.


Causes of action founded on contract are revived by an admission in writing, signed by the party to be charged, that the debt is unpaid, or by a like new promise to pay the same.

43.0129 Use of barred counterclaim as defense.


A counterclaim may be pleaded as a defense to any cause of action, notwithstanding it is barred by a statute of limitation, if it was the property of the party pleading it at the time it became barred, and was not barred at the time the claim sued on originated; but no judgment thereon, except for costs, can be rendered in favor of the party so pleading it.

43.0130 Effect of injunction.


When the commencement of an action is stayed by injunction or statutory prohibition, the time of the continuance of such injunction or prohibition shall not be part of the time limited for the commencement of the action except as otherwise provided by law.