THE SUPREME COURT OF THE
FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
CHUUK STATE APPELLATE DIVISION
Cite as Nakamura v. Moen Municipality ,
8 FSM Intrm. 552 (Chk. S. Ct. App. 1998)

[8 FSM Intrm. 552]

ECHEN NAKAMURA et al.,
Appellants,

vs.

MOEN [WENO] MUNICIPALITY,
Appellee.

CIVIL APPEAL CASE NO. 3-96

OPINION

Argued:  December 4, 1997
Decided:  May 21, 1998

BEFORE:
Hon. Wanis R. Simina, Associate Justice, Chuuk State Supreme Court, presiding
Hon. Lyndon L. Cornelius, Temporary Justice, Chuuk State Supreme Court*
Hon. Ready Johnny, Temporary Justice, Chuuk State Supreme Court**

*Chief Justice, Kosrae State Court, Lelu, Kosrae
**FSM Public Defender, Weno, Chuuk

APPEARANCES:
For the Appellants:     Charles Greenfield, Esq.
                       Micronesian Legal Services Corporation
                       P.O. Box 129
                       Kolonia, Pohnpei FM 96941

For the Appellee:        Kachuo Eko, trial counselor
                       Assistant Attorney General
                       Office of the Chuuk Attorney General
                       P.O. Box 189
                       Weno, Chuuk FM 96942

[8 FSM Intrm. 553]
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HEADNOTES
Administrative Law ) Judicial Review
     The Chuuk Judiciary Act of 1990, Chk. S.L. No. 190-08, states in part that the reviewing court shall declare unlawful and set aside agency action, findings and conclusions found to be unsupported by substantial evidence.  Nakamura v. Moen Municipality, 8 FSM Intrm. 552, 554 (Chk. S. Ct. App. 1998).

Administrative Law ) Judicial Review; Property ) Land Commission
     The standard required for the review of a Land Commission decision by the Chuuk State Supreme Court trial division is whether the decision of the Land Commission is supported by substantial evidence.  Nakamura v. Moen Municipality, 8 FSM Intrm. 552, 554 (Chk. S. Ct. App. 1998).

Appeal and Certiorari ) Standard of Review
     When Land Commission has received considerable credible and compelling evidence, the trial division's decision refusing to disturb the Land Commission's findings that there was substantial evidence to support the Land Commission's conclusion will not be overturned.  Nakamura v. Moen Municipality, 8 FSM Intrm. 552, 554 (Chk. S. Ct. App. 1998).

Appeal and Certiorari ) Standard of Review
     An appellant may not complain of an error in his favor in the rendition of a judgment.  Nakamura v. Moen Municipality, 8 FSM Intrm. 552, 554 (Chk. S. Ct. App. 1998).

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COURT'S OPINION
WANIS R. SIMINA, Associate Justice:
     This is an appeal from a decision of the Trial Division which affirmed a decision of the Chuuk State Land Commission giving title to 2 parcels of land in Iras Village, Moen,(Weno) Chuuk State, to the Appellee.

     The Appellant frames the issues in the case into 8 allegations of error by the Trial Division:

     1.  The trial court erroneously interpreted Section 17(2)(b), Judiciary Act of 1990 as prohibiting the awarding of title to the disputed lands to Appellant.

     2.  The legal standard for reviewing the findings of fact by the Land Commission was erroneous.

     3.  The trial court erroneously ruled that the right to alienate the land in dispute had not been contested.

     4.  The trial court erred in concluding that there was legal authority to alienate the land when the evidence before the Land Commission was insufficient to support this conclusion.

     5.  The trial court erred in finding that the deed was proof of a sale of the land in question.

     6.  That the evidence was insufficient to support the finding of the trial court that the land in issue had been sold to Appellee.

     7.  The trial court erred in finding that the land sale was supported by substantial evidence.

[8 FSM Intrm. 554]

     8.  The trial court erred in ruling that there was sufficient evidence to support the findings of fact.

     The foregoing outline of Appellant's claim of errors committed by the trial court presents only one issue for consideration by this court for the disposition of this appeal:

     1.  Whether the evidence was sufficient to support the proper standard of review?

     Section 17(2), Judiciary Act of 1990, Chk. S.L. No. 190-08, states in part as follows:  "The reviewing court shall:  (b) declare unlawful and set aside agency action, findings and conclusions found to be: . . . (5)  unsupported by substantial evidence . . . ."

     It is beyond dispute that the standard required for the review of a decision of the Land Commission by the Trial Division of the Chuuk State Supreme Court is whether the decision of the Land Commission is "supported by substantial evidence."

     Without reiterating the evidence presented to the Land Commission, suffice it to say that the Land Commission's conclusion that the land in dispute was sold to Appellant is supported by substantial evidence in that the deed transferring the land contains the signature of the Appellant herself.

     Based on the receipt by the Land Commission of considerable other credible and compelling evidence, this Court would in no way be justified in overturning the Trial Division's decision of refusing to disturb the Land Commission's findings that there was substantial evidence to support the conclusion that the land in dispute is owned by the Municipality of Moen.

     A fortiori, the Appellant complains that the Trial Division erred by not using the "clearly erroneous" standard of review.  As these terms are defined in Black's Law Dictionary 228, 1281 (5th ed. 1979), the "clearly erroneous" standard would place a much greater burden upon Appellant than the standard, "supported by substantial evidence" which the trial court used.  See also 5 Am. Jur. 2d Appeal and Error 835 (1962).

     As stated in 5 Am. Jur. 2d Appeal and Error 818 (1962):  "Clearly, appellant may not complain of an error in his favor in the rendition of a judgment."

     Moreover, this court is guided by the concluding sentence of Chk. S.L. No. 190-08, 17, "due account shall be taken of the rule of prejudicial error."

Conclusion
     We conclude that the appellant has failed to meet the burden of demonstrating that the Land Commission's factual findings are erroneous under either the "clearly erroneous" or the "unsupported by substantial evidence" standards. There is a total absence of prejudicial error in the decision of the Trial Division. Therefore the judgment of the trial division in this case is affirmed.

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