Court Rejects Temporary Restraining Order Against Tiyan Land Swap Law

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Guam -District Court Judge Francis Tydingco-Gatewood has rejected a call for a temporary restraining order against the implementation of  the Tiyan Land Swap law.

Last month, Attorney Curtis Van De Veld asked the District Court to intervene and block the Ancestral Lands Commission from carrying out the transfer of two properties to 72 former Tiyan landowners.

Public Law 158 awards to those 72 families a 582 acre plot in Finegayan and a 395 plot straddling the back road to Andersen.

Van de Veld is arguing that the law is illegal because it gives the bulk of land trust property to roughly 10% of the trust’s beneficiaries. He maintains that the trust is meant to benefit all trust members who lost land to military condemnations.

He wants the law declared “unconstitutional and inorganic.” But he also asked the court to first issue a restraining order stopping implementation of the law, before it decides on the laws “legality.”

However Judge Tydingco-Gatewood has denied the TRO application writing that “the court does not see how this case is within its jurisdiction.”

Read the Court’s Order rejecting the TRO            

The Judge writes that she “cannot grant the relief sought in the TRO application” explaining that “equitable relief is not available to enjoin an alleged taking of private property for a public use … when a suit for compensation can be brought against the sovereign subsequent to the taking.”

She has ordered plaintiffs attorney Van de Veld to “show cause why the court should not dismiss this case” and his brief  is due by 3 pm Friday September 2.