Guam – After being turned down by the Guam District Court on jurisdictional grounds, Attorney Curtis Van de Veld has taken his Class Action suit against the Tiyan Land Swap law to Superior Cour
Van de Veld told PNC News today [Tuesday] that he filed in Superior Court on Friday of last week. The case has been assigned to Judge Arthur Barcinas.
Van de Veld made the move to Superior Court after District Court Judge Francis Tydingco-Gatewood rejected his request for a temporary restraining order against the implementation of the Tiyan Land Swap law because she said the District Court lacked jurisdiction.
Van de Veld told PNC News that he still believes that the District Court has “diversity jurisdiction” because there are members of the class who live off island, which, he says would give the District Court the jurisdiction to intervene.
However to prevent any further delay, he has decided to pursue the temporary restraining order against implementation of the law in Superior Court.
Van De Veld wants the court to block the Ancestral Lands Commission from carrying out the mandates of Public Law 158 which calls for the transfer of two properties to 72 former Tiyan landowners. One plot is a 582 acre property in South Finegayan and the other is a 395 piece of land straddling the back road to Andersen.
Van de Veld argues 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 is seeking the restraining order first to stop the GALC from carrying out the law, before the merits of its “legality” is decided.