COURT OKAYS CLASS ACTION SUIT CASE IN AMERICAN SAMOA

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By Candace Le'i

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (April 27, 2000 - Samoa News/PINA Nius Online)---Daewoosa Samoa, Ltd. may now face a class action suit instead of the several individual civil suits brought against the beleaguered Tafuna-based garment manufacturer by its Chinese and Vietnamese workers.

The Chinese workers filed the first suit in early 1999, followed by the Vietnamese workers in late 1999. The suits sought primarily payroll payments, among other issues.

The High Court recently okayed the consolidation of these two cases as the basis of a class action suit. The court found that "there are questions of law or fact common" to plaintiffs and their cases, a major prerequisite to a class action.

According to the court, "the [expanded] class shall include all non-Samoan garment workers who presently work and formerly worked at Daewoosa. The class excludes all Daewoosa managers. The court, however, may re-define the members of the class if it becomes appropriate to do so."

The court has also ordered that all the non-Samoan workers that may be a party to the suit be made aware of their right to exclude themselves from the class if they so choose.

The Chinese workers are represented by legislative legal counsel Afoa Moega Lutu while the Vietnamese workers are represented by local attorneys Virginia Sudbury and Christa Lin.

Daewoosa Samoa is represented by newly sworn-in administrative law judge Malaetasi Togafau.

Items from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

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