Guam – Assistant Attorney General Bill Bischoff is calling on the District Court to throw out the class action suit against the Tiyan land swap law.
Attorney Curtis Van de Veld filed the suit on behalf of the Ancestral Land Bank beneficiaries. He argues that Public Law 158 awards the bulk of the Ancestral Land Bank’s property to a minority of the beneficiaries. Van De Veld’s suit seeks to have the law declared “unconstitutional, inorganic and illegal.”
However in his response, filed in District Court Monday, Assistant AG Bischoff argues:
*”The plaintiffs have never owned the Lots in question; they are being held by the GALC in public trust; and the legislature is free to revoke or modify the terms of a public trust that it creates.”
*”The legislature is allowed to attack piecemeal the problem of dispossessed ancestral landowners.”
Van de Veld’s Class Action suit also asked the Court to issue a restraining order “ex parte” barring the Ancestral Land Commission from carrying out the law and turning any of the nearly 1000 acres over to the former Tiyan landowners. He argued that his clients, the other trust beneficiaries, would suffer irreparable harm if the law were implemented.
Ex parte means “a legal proceeding brought by one person in the absence of and without representation or notification of other parties.”
District Court Judge Francis Tydingco Gatewood choose not to make an “ex parte” decision, choosing instead to ask for arguments from both sides before she decides whether or not to issue that restraining order and block implementation of the law.
In response to that request for a restraining order, Bischoff responds:
*”The plaintiffs do not meet the four part test for obtaining preliminary relief.”
*”The Government is not required to pay compensation in advance in a condemnation action and so the plaintiffs could suffer no immediate harm.”