Cite as Enlet v. Chee Young Family Store ,
9 FSM Intrm. 563 (Chuuk S. Ct. Tr. 2000)

[9 FSM Intrm. 563]




CSSC CA NO. 98-2000


Wanis R. Simina
Associate Justice

Decided:  October 23, 2000

For the Plaintiff:            Johnny Meippen, Esq.
                                       P.O. Box 705
                                       Weno, Chuuk FM 96942

For the Defendants:     Ready Johnny, Esq.
                                       Chief of Litigation
                                       Office of the Chuuk Attorney General
                                       P.O. Box 189
                                       Weno, Chuuk FM 96942
[9 FSM Intrm. 564]
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Constitutional Law ) Due Process ) Notice and Hearing; Property ) Land Commission
     When the land commission voids one person's certificate of title and issues a new certificate of title covering the same land to another person without notice to the first person and affording the first person an opportunity to be heard, it is a denial of due process and the certificates of title will be vacated and the case remanded to the land commission to conduct the statutorily-required hearings.Enlet v. Chee Young Family Store, 9 FSM Intrm. 563, 564-65 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 2000).

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WANIS R. SIMINA, Associate Justice:
     This case comes before the Court after notice and hearing on Plaintiff's amended complaint which seeks to add the Chuuk State Land Commission as a party Defendant.  The Office of Attorney General filed an objection to the amended complaint raising several issues which are now moot in view of the conclusions reach by the Court herein.

     Based on the record in this case and the matters revealed in open court, it appears that a Certificate of Title to the land in question was issued to the Plaintiff by the Chuuk State Land Commission on May 6, 1999.  Thereafter, on a date not clearly appearing of record, the Plaintiff's Certificate was voided and on January 19, 2000, a Certificate of Title covering land alleged to be, at least in part, the same as that covered in Plaintiff's previously issued Certificate of Title, was issued to Defendant.

     The primary contention of Plaintiff rests on the denial of due process in that the record reflects that the Certificate of Title issued to Plaintiff on May 6, 1999 was thereafter voided by the Chuuk State Land Commission without notice to Plaintiff and without affording Plaintiff the opportunity to be heard.  Nothing in the record appears to dispute this allegation.

     The action of the Land Commission voiding the Plaintiff's Certificate without giving him notice and the opportunity to be heard, is clearly a denial of due process, but this issue is also moot in view of the provisions of Title 67 TTC 114 and 112.   114 is as follows:  "Notice of all determinations of ownership by a land commission shall be given promptly in the same manner as prescribed in section 110 of this chapter for notices for hearings."

     Also, 112 of Title 67 provides in part that:  "All hearings shall be public and every person claiming an interest in land under consideration shall be given an opportunity . . . to be heard."

      110 provides extensive procedures to insure that all parties in interest receive notice and the opportunity to be heard "with respect to any claim" to the land under consideration.  Without question, the Plaintiff had such an interest but was denied the protection provided for by 110.

     It is obvious to this Court that the foregoing provisions are for the purpose of establishing the procedure for guaranteeing the constitutionally protected due process rights.

     Based on the foregoing analysis, the record in the case and the statements made in open Court,

[9 FSM Intrm. 565]

the court finds that the Plaintiff may properly amend his complaint to add the Land Commission as a party Defendant, and it is so ordered.

     Further ordered that the Land Commission in fact, denied Plaintiff due process of law by voiding his Certificate of Title issued on May 6, 1999 without following the procedure set out in Sections 110, 112, and 114 of Title 67 of the Trust Territory Code, by failing to give Plaintiff notice of such action and the opportunity to be heard in opposition thereto.

     Further ordered that this case is remanded to the Land Commission with instructions to withdraw all Certificates of Title covering the land in dispute and to conduct hearings on the issue of ownership pursuant to the provisions of Title 67, Sections 110, 112, 114 and other applicable sections.