Selected High Court Decisions

Selected High Court decisions will be made available as they are scanned. The selected cases are the noteworthy ones, ones that the Judiciary believes should be published for the benefit to the public and practitioners. The High Court will not publish a case unless it satisfies one or more of the following standards: (1) the opinion lays down a new rule of law, or alters, modifies an existing rule, or applies an established rule to a novel fact situation; (2) the opinion involves a legal issue of continuing public interest; (3) the opinion directs attention to the shortcomings of existing common law or inadequacies in statutes; (4) the opinion resolves an apparent conflict of authority. The great majority of High Court decisions are routine in nature and generally are of interest only to the parties. However, the public can get copies of these decisions upon request to the Clerk of the Courts. See the Disclaimer page.

2006

  1. Bill, et al. v CEO, CA 2004-081 (12/20/06), holding that the Chief Electoral Office did not abuse his discretion in rejecting several postal ballots mailed in one express envelope and not individually so that they were postmarked on or before the date of the election as required by law.

2008

  1. Royal Marshall Corp. v. The Assembly of God Church, et al., CA 2008-108 (08/06/08), order denying request for preliminary injunction for failing to establish irreparable harm and probability of success.

2009

  1. In the Matter of the 30th Nitijela Constitutional Regular Session, Interpretation of Constitution, CA 2009-088 (04/17/09), Judgment re Vote of No Confidence holding vote must be taken within constitutional 10-day time limit.

2010

  1. Joseph Rosenquist, Derivatively on Behalf of Nominal Defendant Dryships, Inc., v. George Economou, et al., CA 2009-056 (02/19/10), Order Granting Individual Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [] in a derivative action suit.
  2. CEO v. Simeon et al., CA 2008-068 (12/10/10), holding the “date of election” by which a postal ballot must be post marked is the date in the Republic, not in the country where the ballot was mailed.

2011

  1. Republic of the Marshall Islands v. Mantiera, Cr 2011-013 (04/1311), finding “good cause” to proceed at a preliminary hearing to proceed to arraignment and trial.
  2. Yandall v. White Rivers Gold Ltd. and Mason, CA 2010-158 (05/19/11), Order dismissing cases Mason for lack of personal jurisdiction: signing stock certifications in a non-resident corporation did not amount to performing an act in the Republic.
  3. Lutz Kayser and Susanne Kayser-Schillegger v. Hon. Chief Justice Carl B. Ingram, Google, Inc., Microsoft Corp, IAC/InterActive Corp., Ybrand Digital, LTD, Yahoo Inc., CA Nos. 2010-207 and 2011-022 (08/04/11), Order dismissing cases against Chief Justice Ingram based upon absolute judicial immunity and dismissing case against the Internet Defendants on various grounds.
  4. Jack Jorbon v. Public Service Commission, CA No. 2011-154 (09/19/11), Order Denying Plaintiff’s [] Motion for Preliminary Injunction against compelled leave from Public Service employment while running for political office.
  5. Republic of Marshall Islands v. Jomuly, Cr 2011-028 (09/07/11), Order Dismissing Case for failure of the Republic to proceed with a preliminary hearing in a timely manner.
  6. Republic of Marshall Islands v. Chen, Cr No. 2010-028 (11/11/11), Judgment of Conviction and Sentencing Order for promoting prostitution.

2012

  1. Republic of the Marshall Islands v. Lang, et al., Cr No. 2010-020 (02/13/13), order denying suppression motion as the defendant’s incriminating statement was not involuntary, extracted without informing him of his rights, nor the product of coercion.
  2. Republic of the Marshall Islands v. Zhou, Cr No. 2011-041 (02/22/13), Judgment of Conviction and Sentencing Order for promoting prostitution.
  3. In Re Citizenship of Kiritano, CA No. 2009-239 (02/27/12), Order setting out factors to be used in determining “in the interest of justice” for citizenship by registration based upon Marshall descent.
  4. Boreta Ltd. v. Constant Finance Ltd., CA No. 2011-018 (07/09/12), Order Granting Motion for Summary Judgment upholding provisions of the New York Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards and the Marshall Islands Uniform Foreign Money-Judgment Recognition Act.
  5. Libokmeto and Waser v. Makroro, CA No. 2012-123 (07/13/12), order denying request for a temporary restraining order for the failure to certify efforts to give the defendant notice of the request or to give reasons for not giving the defendant notice.
  6. MINAJ Hldgs Ltd., et al., v. Int’l Maritime Trdg Co. Ltd., CA No. 2011-032 (07/09/12), Order Dismissing Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint for the failure to state a cause of action against the vessel owner for the third party shipper’s alleged failure to deliver goods.
  7. Matthew, et al., v. CEO, CA 2011-224 (12/10/10), Order dismissing petition by unsuccessful candidates in a Nitijela elections for failing to exhaust administrative remedies.

2013

  1. In Re Citizenship of Cayetano, CA No. 2011-193 (03/04/13), Decree Re Eligibility to Register as a Citizen holding that to register as a citizen under Art. XI, Sec. 2(1)(b) of the Constitution the petitioner need only establish that he is the parent of a child that is a citizen, that he has lawfully resided in the Republic for at least three years, and that he is not disqualified in the interest of national security; the petitioner need not establish that granting the petition is in the “interest of justice,” as would be the case if he sought citizenship by descent under Art. XI, Sec. 2(1)(c) of the Constitution, nor need he establish that he is married to the mother of his Marshallese child.
  2. Capelle v. College of the Marshall Islands, CA No. 2011-095 (03/14/13), holding the employer not following its own procedures wrongfully discharged its employee.
  3. Abon v Marshall Islands Social Security Administration, CA No. 2012-025 (03/18/13), holding the under its regulations MISSA properly denied plaintiff survivor benefits as the customarily adopted child of the deceased worker because the worker did not petition for confirmation of the customary adoption prior to his death as required by regulation.
  4. In re Citizenship of Tamuera, CA No. 2010-114 (04/25/13), denying petition for citizenship by registration based upon Marshallese descent for failing to establish that granting the petition would be “in the interest of justice.”
  5. Marshall Islands Social Security Administration v. Holly, CA No. 2012-018 (05/23/13), Final Judgment awarding MISSA penalties and attorneys fees for the defendant’s failure to timely pay social security contributions, but not finding that lease payments are compensation for purposes of calculation the contributions due.
  6. Republic of the Marshall Islands v. Betwell, Cr No. 2013-003 (07/22/13), denied motion to suppress evidence for the failure to advise the defendant of his rights, entrapment, or coercion, as the defendant volunteered his statement and was not entrapped or coerced.

2014

  1. In re the Matter of 35th Nitijela Constitutional Regular Session, Interpretation of Constitution, CA 2014-081 (03/13/14), holding that “recess” for purposes of a vote of no confidence in the Cabinet under Article IV, Section 11(1)(b) of the Constitution means an inter-session recess, not an intra-session recess, notwithstanding the definition of “recess” in the Nitijela Rules of Procedure.
  2. In re Petition for Citizenship by Registration by Wu Jianya, CA 2014-105 (08/21/14), holding that to register as a citizen under Article XI, Section 2(1)(b) of the Constitution it is necessary and sufficient that a person has resided in the Republic for more than three years, is the parent of a child who is a citizen, is not disqualified on national security grounds, and is prepared to renounce one’s current citizenship and swear allegiance to the Republic, as the Constitution requires. The Constitution does not require that the person be a resident for three years on a “residence visa” or any particular visa. Nor is the person disqualified by the Republic’s unproven allegations that the person has violated the laws of the Republic.
  3. Jilly v Utrik Atoll Local Distribution Authority, CA 2014-123 (11/03/14), holding that the Nuclear Claims Tribunal, not the High Court has jurisdiction to resolve, disputes concerning the distribution of funds by a local distribution authority.
  4. Phillip and Phillip v Attorney-General and the Republic, CA 2014-133 (12/01/14) denying a motion to set aside a default judgment against the Republic, where the Republic failed to move to set aside the entry or establish grounds for setting aside the default judgment.
  5. Bank of Marshall Islands v Shamory, et al., CA 2014-228 (12/23/14), holding that, notwithstanding contract language allowing for attorneys fees, counsel for the bank must establish that the requested attorneys fee are reasonable, as required under General Order 2005-001.
  6. Jacob v. Kendall and Remios, CA 2008-221 (12/30/14), affirming the Traditional Rights Court’s determination that defendant Kendall is the alap over the 25 disputed wetos on Wotje Atoll and Erkub Atoll as the biological child of former alap Kendal Lojen or as his adopted child that he considered his biological child under the traditional practice of “kanin lojeo,” or from my womb, such that Kendall’s rights were not subordinate to the rights of other biological members of the bwij.

2015

  1. Niedenthal v. CEO, CA 2014-263 (02/25/15), Summary Judgment in Favor of Jack Niedenthal holding that the Nitijela Act, Section 145(6) of the Elections and Referenda Act 1980, which purports to require that candidates for the Nitijela, in addition to the requirements set forth in Article VI, Sec. 4(1) of the Constitution, have a mother or father of Marshallese descent with a customary jowi, was enacted in violation of the Constitution, and therefore does not have the force of law and is void.
  2. Hitto and Emil v Toka, et al., CA 21-80 and 1986-149 (consolidated) (05/22/15) holding as follows: as to Aibwij, Hitto holds the alab interest and Emil holds the senior dri jerbal interest; as to Monke Weto, Bejang holds the alab interest and James holds the senior dri jerbal interest; and as to Lojonen Weto, Jebrejrej hold the alab interest and Kinere holds the senior dri jerbal interest. Further, the court enters default judgment enters against Korok and sets aside the existing preliminary injunction. Funds held in the Bank of Guam in this matter may be distributed subject to a 31-day stay, unless ordered otherwise.
  3. Majuro Atoll Local Government v. Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority, CA 15-25 (11/23/15) order denying summary judgment for MALGOV, holding the Marine Resources Act 1997,which grants MIMRA exclusive powers and functions over fishery waters in the Republic, including the Majuro lagoon, does not violate MALGOV’s constitutional jurisdiction for the Majuro lagoon
  4. Lamina Y Placa de Monterrey SA CV v. Star Cosmo LLC, in personam, and Daewoo Logistics Corp., CA 14-66 (12/1/15) order granting summary judgment to Star Cosmo, holding that Star Cosmo had met its MIRCP Rule 56(a) obligation in showing (i) there was no genuine issue of material fact and (ii) Star Cosmo was entitled to judgment as a matter of law but that Lamina Y Placa had failed to offer evidence otherwise as required under MIRCP 56( c)(l )(A).

2016

  1. Kabua, et al., v. M/V Mell Springwood, CA 2015-200 (06/20/16), Order granting Motion to Dismiss under MIRCP 12(b)(6) for the failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Private owners of dry land do not have a claim for damage to the reef, which by law belongs to the National Government.
  2. Asignacion v. Rickmers, CA 2016-026 (11/10/16), Order granting Motion to Dismiss under MIRCP 12(b)(6) for the failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiff, a Philippino seaman, sued the defendant for injuries he suffered while working on the defendant’s vessel, a Marshall Islands flagged vessel. A state trial court in Louisiana, where the injury occurred and where the plaintiff filed suit, referred the matter to arbitration in the Philippines pursuant to the plaintiff’s employment contract. An arbitration panel in the Philippines made an award. Plaintiff was unsatisfied with the award and sought to challenge it in the Louisiana state court. Defendant removed the matter to the federal court. The Louisiana Federal District Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff. However, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal overruled the District Court and upheld the arbitration award. The United States Supreme Court denied cert. Shortly thereafter, the plaintiff sued the defendant in the Marshall Islands seeking to have the High Court reject the Court of Appeals’ decision and allow the matter to go to trial. Plaintiff brought the Marshall Islands suit three years after the statue of limitation had run. The Court held that plaintiff’s claims are barred by the statute of limitations and by res judicata.

2017

  1. Frontline, LTD. v DHT Holdings, Inc, et al., CA 2017-092 (06/07/17), Order denying Frontline’s motion for a preliminary injunction against DHT Holdings, Inc., DHT Directors, and BW Group. On the limited record before the Court, the Court concluded that it did not have personal jurisdiction over BW Group, which had acquired 33% of DHT, cash, and rights to purchase additional shares in exchange for vessels. Even if the Court had personal jurisdiction over BW Group, the Court concluded Frontline had not demonstrated (i) irreparable harm, (ii) likelihood of success on the merits because of the business judgment rule, (iii) that balance of the equities favors a preliminary injunction, and (vi) that public interest favors a preliminary injunction. Regarding DHT, the Court concluded that even if Frontline had satisfied the factors for a preliminary injunction, a mandatory injunction was not warranted on the limited record.
  2. Mongaya v AET MCV BETA LLC, et al., CA 2017-044 (August 10, 2017), Order Granting Defendants’ Motions to Stay Action Pending Arbitration.  Plaintiff, a citizen of the Philippines, was severely injured while employed as a seafarer on the M/V Eagle Texas.  Under his Philippine Overseas Administration Standard Employment Contract, he is required to participate in arbitration for claims and disputes arising from his employment.  The Court, granted the defendants’ motions to stay proceeding pending arbitration, citing Sections 304 and 305(1) the Arbitration Act 1980, 30 MIRC Chp. 3, and Article II, Section 3 of the New York Convention on Enforcement and Recognition on Foreign Arbitral Awards, to which the Republic acceded in 2006.
  3. Chee v Zhang et al., CA 2016-254 (October 16, 2017), Final Judgement Granting Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction over the natural defendants and under the doctrine of forum non conveniens.