THE SUPREME COURT OF THE
FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
Cite as Wito Clan v. United Church of Christ,
6 FSM Intrm. 291 (App. 1993)
THE WITO CLAN,
UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST, MOEN, and
UNITED CHURCH BOARD OF WORLD MINISTRIES,
and STATE OF CHUUK,
APPEAL CASE NO. C3-1992
Decided: December 16, 1993
Hon. Martin Yinug, Associate Justice, FSM Supreme Court
Hon. Andon L. Amaraich, Associate Justice, FSM Supreme Court
Hon. Soukichi Fritz, Temporary Justice, FSM Supreme Court*
*Chief Justice, Chuuk State Supreme Court, Weno, Chuuk
For the Appellant: Charles Greenfield, Esq.
Micronesian Legal Services Corporation
P.O. Box 38
Tofol, Kosrae FM 96944
For the Appellees: R. Barrie Michelsen, Esq.
(Churches) Law Offices of R. Barrie Michelsen
P.O. Box 1450
Kolonia, Pohnpei FM 96941
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Appeal and Certiorari
Where the trial court's finding that damages were not proven at trial is not clearly erroneous the appellate court will not remand to the trial court for further presentation of evidence on that
issue. Wito Clan v. United Church of Christ, 6 FSM Intrm. 291, 292 (App. 1993).
Civil Procedure ) Res Judicata
A claim for damages not proven at trial is not renewable at some later point in a different proceeding since res judicata clearly applies to the failed claim. Wito Clan v. United Church of Christ, 6 FSM Intrm. 291, 292 (App. 1993).
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MARTIN YINUG, Associate Justice:
Appellant has petitioned for rehearing on the decision of this Court affirming the trial court's dismissal of appellants' counterclaim for past use compensation. We find no grounds for rehearing this issue and therefore we deny the petition.
The background to this case is set out fully in Wito Clan v. United Church of Christ, 6 FSM Intrm. 129 (App. 1993). The Clan's present petitions based on the issue presented at trial concerning the Clan's right to relief for the Church's unlawful use of the property known as Faior. The trial court rejected the claim on grounds of failure to prove any damages. Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law at 4 (Jan. 24, 1992). On appeal this Court reached the same conclusion. See Wito Clan, 6 FSM Intrm. at 134.
The appellant argues that having found in its favor on the issue of ownership of the parcel known as Faior, we should have attempted to blend the proven customary right to ownership with a common law right to past use compensation. We are not persuaded that such an exercise is warranted or appropriate. Even if it were, we are without evidence in the record to apply the requested common law relief.
The appellant misconstrues the reasoning in our opinion in this case to imply that another opportunity to present evidence on damages after Faior's boundaries have been properly determined would cure the defects in proof noted by the trial court. This is too broad a reading of our decision. Our statement that "[i]t is not clear at this time by what amount, if any, the Church Board could be said to have gained at the landowner's expense" merely indicates the basis of our determination that the trial court's factual finding on this question was not clearly erroneous. It is not to be construed as suggesting the possibility of remand to the trial court for further presentation of evidence on past use compensation.
A claim for damages not proven at trial is not renewable at some later point in a different proceeding since res judicata clearly applies to the failed claim. See Jonas v. Mobil Oil Micronesia, Inc., 2 FSM Intrm. 164, 166 (App. 1986); 46 Am. Jur. 2d Judgments § 404 (1969). We are not presented with or aware of any evidence of customary law which would indicate a different result. The Clan had ample opportunity to prove damages at trial, and it failed to do so. No customary evidence was presented supporting the Clan's claim for past use compensation. Therefore, we find no grounds for revisiting this issue.
The petition for rehearing is denied and the decision of this Court entered on June 24, 1993 remains unmodified.
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