29 Jan 2019

Wrongful death lawsuit can be heard in American Samoa

7:51 am on 29 January 2019

A federal judge in California has ruled the High Court of American Samoa has jurisdiction to hear a wrongful death lawsuit.

The suit has been brought on behalf of a US fisherman who died when he fell from a US fishing vessel docked in Pago Pago and drowned.

Pago Pago Harbour, American Samoa

Pago Pago Harbour, American Samoa Photo: AFP / Michael Runkel / Robert Harding Premium

The company involved, Tri Marine, had been pushing to have the case heard in American Samoa.

The plaintiffs, - Maren Miller, the personal representative of the estate of Michael Castaneda - the fisherman who drowned, and his wife, Tracey Castaneda, had opposed.

They had argued that American Samoa would be an inadequate forum to hear the claims, especially since its high court didn't conduct jury trials in civil cases.