CHUUK STATE SUPREME COURT
Cite as Irons v. Ruben ,
9 FSM Intrm. 218 (Chuuk S. Ct. Tr. 1999)
CSSC CIVIL ACTION NO. 39-88
Jerry L. Coe
Special Trial Justice
Hearing: May 4, 1999
Decided: September 2, 1999
For the Plaintiff: Wesley Simina, Esq.
P.O. Box 94
Weno, Chuuk FM 96942
For the Defendant: Julio Akapito, trial counselor
P.O. Box 303
Weno, Chuuk FM 96942
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Judgments ) Relief from Judgment
A motion for relief from judgment must allege facts sufficient to establish a meritorious defense. Such defendants must make a showing of a meritorious defense that if established at trial, would constitute a complete defense to the action. Irons v. Ruben, 9 FSM Intrm. 218, 219 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1999).
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JERRY L. COE, Special Trial Justice:
This case comes before the Court after notice and hearing held on May 4, 1999.
The Complaint in the case was filed on March 23, 1988 and for various reasons, not important to the Judgment rendered hereby, has been pending for over 10 years. The case was assigned to the undersigned Special Trial Justice on January 19, 1999 and by Order dated January 20, 1999, the case was set for trial on March 17, 1999. On that date and prior thereto, both parties obtained new counsel and the hearing scheduled for March 17, 1999 was continued to May 4, 1999 with the positive understanding, as stated in the order for continuance, "that the case will proceed to conclusion at that time."
At the appointed hour of 9:00 a.m. on May 4, 1999, the Plaintiff appeared in his own proper person and by counsel. The Defendant did not appear either in person or by Counsel. The hearing proceeded during which time the Plaintiff offered evidence which established a strong prima facie case in support of his claim. The Plaintiff's testimony was not disputed.
At the conclusion of the hearing on May 4, 1999, the Court indicated from the bench that judgment would be entered for the Plaintiff on his complaint and that the Defendant's Counterclaim would be dismissed for failure to prosecute.
On May 11, 1999, through yet another new counsel, the Defendant filed a Motion for Relief from Judgment. On August 31, 1999, counsel for Plaintiff filed opposition to Defendant's motion which addresses the fatal flaw in Defendant's motion, that the motion fails to allege facts sufficient to establish a meritorious defense. Rule 60(b), CSSC Rules of Civil Procedure is near identical to the corresponding Federal Rule. The U.S. Federal Courts, as well as Courts in the FSM have consistently held that the Defendant in cases such as this must make a showing of a meritorious defense, "if established at trial, would constitute a complete defense to the action." See United States v. $55,518.05, 728 F.2d 192, 195 (3d Cir. 1984) and cases cited therein; and Truk Transp. Co. v. Trans Pacific Import Ltd., 3 FSM Intrm. 512, 515 (Truk S. Ct. Tr. 1988).
Having considered the record in this case and the evidence presented by Plaintiff during the hearing held on May 4, 1999, the Court enters the following final judgment:
The Court finds that the Defendant has failed to prosecute her Counterclaim and that the same is due to be dismissed, and it is so ordered.
It is further ordered that Defendant, her agents, servants, employees or independent contractors are hereby permanently enjoined from entering upon that parcel of land described as Lot B-60457, and
known as "Soni" (Nangko) situated in Polle Village, Dublon Island, Chuuk State or from cutting or removing trees or crops therefrom or from constructing any building or structure thereon, and
It is further ordered, adjudged and decreed that the Plaintiff, Arthur Irons, is the true and lawful owner of the Fee Simple Title to the lands described herein and that Defendant, Nosi Ruben, has no right, title, estate or interest whatsoever in the said lands.