Cite as Bualuay v. Rano , 9 FSM Intrm. 39
(Chuuk. S. Ct. App. 1999)

[9 FSM Intrm. 39]






Argued:  December 11, 1998
Decided:  February 1, 1999

Hon. Yoster Carl, Temporary Justice, Chuuk State Supreme Court*
Hon. Midasy O. Aisek, Temporary Justice, Chuuk State Supreme Court**
Hon. Ready Johnny, Temporary Justice, Chuuk State Supreme Court***

*Associate Justice, Pohnpei Supreme Court
**Directing Attorney, Micronesian Legal Services Corporation, Weno, Chuuk
***FSM Public Defender, Weno, Chuuk

For the Appellant:      Wesley Simina, Esq.
                                     P.O. Box 94
                                     Weno, Chuuk FM 96942

For the Appellees:     Hans Wiliander, trial counselor
                                     P.O. Box 389
                                     Weno, Chuuk FM 96942

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Appeal and Certiorari ) Standard of Review
     When the appellate court finds nothing in the record on appeal that contradicts the master's findings or the High Court judgment previously rendered on the issues of ownership of the land in question and the state trial court judgment appealed from is based solely on the previous High Court decision, the trial court will be affirmed.Bualuay v. Rano, 9 FSM Intrm. 39, 40 (Chk. S. Ct. App.

[9 FSM Intrm. 40]

*    *    *    *

YOSTER CARL, Presiding Justice:
     This is an appeal from a judgment of the Chuuk State Supreme Court Trial Division in an action arising out of a dispute over ownership of land containing a taro patch known as "Mochikis," located at Mechitiw Village, Weno Municipality, Chuuk State.

     On February 13, 1996, the Defendants in the court below, filed a Motion for Summary Judgment with supporting brief and affidavit.  Grounds for the motion stated the substance of Rule 56, CSSC Rules of Civil Procedure governing the granting of Summary Judgment.

     On March 13, 1996, Plaintiffs filed their opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and a Motion for Summary Judgment on the Pleadings with supporting affidavit, pursuant to Rule 12(c), CSSC Rules of Civil Procedure.

     Thereafter, on March 28, 1996, a hearing was held, after which the trial court entered judgment from which this appeal was taken.  In substance, the judgment of the trial court reaffirmed the decision in a previous case before the High Court of the Trust Territory in the matter.

     That decision, rendered in 1968, adopted a report of a special master which determined that the two contesting parties at the time each owned one-half of the land in question.

     We view this decision of the trial court as disposing of the case and it is of no consequence whether it is seen as a ruling on summary judgment or a ruling on the merits.  See note 28 to Civil Procedure Rule 56, United States Code Service.

     The judgment of the trial court is based solely on a previous decision of the High Court in Civil Action No. 407, dated March 26, 1968.  The judgment in Civil Action No. 407 contains the following statement concerning the master's conclusions referred to above:  "From the above it is concluded that the Master's findings of fact are amply supported by the testimony and the court hereby approves the Master's findings of fact."

     We find nothing in the record on appeal in this case or in the trial court that contradicts the findings of the Master or the Judgment of the High Court previously rendered on these issues of ownership of the land in question.

     The judgment of the trial division is affirmed.