ASG yet to be served with $1.5 million lawsuit
The American Samoa Government has not been served with the $1.5 million notice of claim lawsuit over a police brutality incident that occurred in May 2021 involving Setope Fa’alata who was assaulted while in handcuffs.
The lawsuit had since been filed with the High Court, however, according to Deputy Attorney General Roy Hall their office checked and there is no affidavit of service on file with the High Court.
"We have reached out to the plaintiff's (Sean Morrison’s law office) Counsel and we are now awaiting an official response," said Mr Hall.
According to the claims the grand total of all claims against the American Samoa Government (not including the individuals) is $1.5 million plus medical expenses.
ASG is named in the lawsuit alongside six Police officers, Captain Margie Alofaituli, Police Officers Faau Levi; ElleryQuinn Histake, Togia; Verna Montgomery and Dustin Maiava.
The 23-page civil suit was filed earlier this month by Sean Morrison Law Offices based in Louisiana and outlines 18 causes of action including assault and battery; false charges and cover-up; use of excessive force; denial of medical care; negligent infliction of emotional distress among others.
According to the lawsuit, the Officers are accused of beating the plaintiff, who had allegedly assaulted his girlfriend.
There is also evidence indicating that their immediate supervisor allegedly attempted to cover up the incident, and there was an admission written in the report on the investigation of the alleged assault.
It is alleged that Fa’alata was taken directly to the Tafuna Correctional Facility and he was refused by corrections officers who stated that the plaintiff should be taken to the hospital for medical care before he can be booked and confined at the correctional facility.
At the hospital, Fa’alata was treated for a concussion, a fractured jaw, teeth, and severe damage to his eye. His lower jaw suffered two mandible fractures, on both sides, eleven of Faalata’s teeth had to be wired.
The lawsuit states that as a direct result of the unconstitutional conduct the plaintiff suffered pain and suffering, mental anguish, and seeks general and special damages in excess of the minimum monetary jurisdictional limits of the High Court.
Furthermore, the plaintiff is seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, costs, pre-and post-judgment interest, and such other and further relief this Court deems just and appropriate. There is a criminal matter pending in the High Court over this matter.