Plaintiff in civil complaint against ASG ordered to show cause


The former employee of the Office of Public defender who is suing ASG in the federal district court of Hawaii for alleged termination without due process has until May 28th to respond to an order to show cause by the District Court Judge hearing his case.

Chief US District Judge Derrick Watson issued the show cause order on May 7. He said because Leuma Ben Alefosio has filed an IFP application, which is an application to proceed without prepayment of fees or costs, the court has to screen the a case and must dismiss it if it is frivolous, malicious or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

Regarding the venue, the judge cited that a civil action may be brought in a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of the state in which the district is located; a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events giving rise to the claim occurred or a substantial part of property that is the subject of the action is situated; or if no district is otherwise available, any district over which any defendant is subject to the court’s personal jurisdiction. When a case is brought in the wrong district, a court must dismiss the case, or if it is in the interest of justice, transfer the cases to a proper district.

Judge Watson said plaintiff Alefosio is a resident of American Samoa and not Hawaii. Secondly the sole defendant, the American Samoa Government is if anything, resident in American Samoa, not Hawaii. Thirdly all of the events took place in American Samoa, with not one occurring in Hawaii. “In this light, venue in Hawaii appears to be improper,” said the judge. “In addition, transfer of this case also appears improper given that the seemingly only proper venue would be the court of American Samoa, to whom this court has no authority because they are not a ‘district’.”

The judge ordered Alefosio to show cause as to why this case should not be dismissed without prejudice for lack of venue, and has given him until May 28 to respond. “Should Alefosio fail to respond or fail to show why venue is proper, in this District, this action will be dismissed for lack of venue,” ordered the Judge.

Alefosio filed a civil complaint against ASG in the Honolulu Federal District Court on April 26, alleging that he was denied due process when he was terminated as a investigator /translator with the Office of the Public Defender. He cites that the handling of his grievance with the Department of Human Resources, his complaint with the Administrative Law Judge and his petition to the High Court, did not follow procedures so he has brought his complaint to the Hawaii District Court.