THE SUPREME COURT OF THE
FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
Cite as Mid-Pac Construction Co. v. Senda ,
6 FSM Intrm. 135 (Pohnpei 1993)

[6 FSM Intrm. 135]

MID-PAC CONSTRUCTION CO., INC.,
on assignment for the benefit of creditors,
Plaintiffs,

vs.

AMBROS SENDA,
Defendant,

and BANK OF GUAM
Garnishee.

CIVIL ACTION NO. 1988-099

ORDER

Andon L. Amaraich
Associate Justice

Hearing:  June 11, 1993
Decided:  July 9, 1993

APPEARANCES:
For the Plaintiff:          Daniel J. Berman, Esq.
 Rush, Moore, Craven, Sutton, Morry & Beh
                                     2000 Hawaii Tower
                                     745 Fort Street
                                     Honolulu, HI 96813-3862

For the Defendant:     R. Barrie Michelsen, Esq.
                                     Law Offices of R. Barrie Michelsen
                                     P.O. Box 1450
                                     Kolonia, Pohnpei FM 96941

For the Garnishee:     Fredrick L. Ramp, Esq.
                                     P.O. Box 1480
                                     Kolonia, Pohnpei FM 96941

*    *    *    *

HEADNOTE
Contempt
     A garnishee who deliberately disobeys a court order may be held in contempt of court.  Mid-Pac Constr. Co. v. Senda, 6 FSM Intrm. 135, 136 (Pon. 1993).

[6 FSM Intrm. 136]
*    *    *    *

COURT'S OPINION
ANDON L. AMARAICH, Associate Justice:
     A hearing on all pending motions was held on June 11, 1993.  For the reasons expressed below, garnishee Bank of Guam is found in Contempt of Court and is fined $1,000.00 to be paid to the Clerk of Court.

     Further rulings on the remaining motions shall be made by separate orders to be issued in the future.

MEMORANDUM
     Plaintiffs filed a motion to issue garnishee summons on the Bank of Guam on October 15, 1992.  The motion was based on defendant's failure to comply with the court's order of May 27, 1992 directing him to make payments of $20,000.00 every sixty days to the plaintiffs.  A garnishee summons issued on December 1, 1992, directing the Bank of Guam to garnish the sum of $60,000.00 from the accounts of defendant Ambros Senda.  Garnishee, through its branch manager, was ordered to appear before this court on December 3, 1992 with a cashier's check for the garnished amount and a written disclosure made under oath.

     On December 3, 1992, garnishee did not appear in court.  The court was informed by plaintiffs' and defendant's counsel that garnishee had elected to set off the amounts in defendant's accounts against its own claims against the defendant, thereby ignoring this court's order.

     Garnishee Bank of Guam was ordered to show cause why it should not be held in contempt for failing to comply with this court's garnishee summons of December 1, 1992.  Garnishee appeared and, through counsel, explained that the decision not to comply was made by in-house counsel in Guam for the purpose of preserving the Bank's personal claim against the defendant.  The Bank admitted its error in judgment and assured the court of its intention to obey future court orders.

     Parties are not at liberty to ignore this court's directives out of personal convenience or interest.  While the court takes note of the Bank's statements and believes that the Bank is sincere in its promise to comply in the future, the court must express its concern that an established financial institution such as the Bank could knowingly disregard a direct order from this court.  That the decision not to comply came from in-house counsel in Guam is not exculpatory; rather, it is evidence that the decision was internally made and authorized by the Bank's officials.

     Wherefore, I find garnishee Bank of Guam to be in contempt of court and hereby fine the Bank $1,000.00 to be paid to the Clerk of Court.

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