CHUUK STATE SUPREME COURT TRIAL DIVISION
Cite as Lukas v. Stanley
10 FSM Intrm. 365 ( Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 2001)
 
[10 FSM Intrm. 365]
 
DONIPA S. LUKAS,
Plaintiff,
vs.
ROCHON STANLEY and SIMION INNOCENTI,
Defendants.
CSSC CA No. 228-2000
 
FINAL JUDGMENT
 
Keske S. Marar
Associate Justice
 
Trial: February 5-6, 2001
 
Decided: August 28, 2001
 
APPEARANCES:
 
For the Plaintiff:                    Ben K. Enlet, trial counselor
                                               P.O. Box 1650
                                               Weno, Chuuk FM 96942
 
For the Defendants:             Richard Anobad, trial counselor
                                               P.O. Box 871
                                               Weno, Chuuk FM 96942
 
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HEADNOTES
 
Evidence ) Authentication
     For a plaintiff to succeed, she must come forward with a preponderance of creditable evidence to establish the authenticity of the document upon which her claim is based. Lukas v. Stanley, 10 FSM Intrm. 365, 366 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 2001).
 
Civil Procedure ) Affidavits; Evidence ) Authentication
     A plaintiff has not met the necessary burden of proof when the affidavit offered by plaintiff to
 
[10 FSM Intrm. 366]
 
prove her claim is highly suspect in that the plaintiff's father, whom she claims gave the property to her, did not appear in person before the Clerk of Court when he signed the document and the plaintiff presented conflicting evidence in court at which place or where the document was signed. Lukas v. Stanley, 10 FSM Intrm. 365, 366 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 2001).
 
Custom and Tradition ) Chuuk; Property ) Tidelands
     When tidelands were never properly divided during the father's lifetime, the logical conclusion is that those tidelands remain lineage or family property according to Chuukese tradition and custom and cannot be transferred without the consent of all male adults of the lineage, subject only to the traditional rights of afokur as consented to. Lukas v. Stanley, 10 FSM Intrm. 365, 366 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 2001).
 
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COURT'S OPINION

KESKE S. MARAR, Associate Justice:

     This case comes before the Court after notice and trial on Plaintiff's action for ejectment, injunctive relief and declaratory judgment. The dispute arises out of the issue of ownership of tidelands known as Nemonupwun, situated at the shoreline of Mechitiw Village, Weno, Chuuk State.

     The Plaintiff's claim of ownership of the area in question is based on an alleged inheritance or gift from her father, Keybond Stanley. It is a well settled rule of law that for the Plaintiff to succeed, she must come forward with a preponderance of creditable evidence to establish the authenticity of the document upon which her claim is based. Upon consideration of all the testimony and the circumstances surrounding the document offered to establish her claim, the Court finds that the Plaintiff has not met the necessary burden of proof.

     The proper execution and acknowledgment of the affidavit offered by Plaintiff to prove her claim is highly suspect in that the Plaintiff's father, whom she claims gave the property to her, did not appear in person before the Clerk of Court when the document was signed by him. Also, there was conflicting evidence presented in court by the Plaintiff at which place or where the document was signed on October 14, 1997.

     The Court finds that the tidelands in question were never properly divided during the lifetime of the Plaintiff's father. The logical conclusion is that the tidelands remain lineage or family property according to Chuukese tradition and custom. Hence they cannot be transferred without the consent of all male adults of the lineage which is now headed by the Defendant Rochon Stanley. Thus the tidelands may now be subject only to the traditional rights of Afokur as consented to by the Defendant, Rochon Stanley.

     Based on the foregoing, the Court finds that the Plaintiff has failed to meet the burden of proof to establish any rights to the tidelands in question and that the Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction, writ of ejectment and declaratory judgment is due to be denied, and it is so ordered.

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