In lawsuits against Leander Leander, Jr., Chen Wan Ben, Hu Cui and AA Company, Nauru’s Eigugu Corporation asked the High Court for summary judgments in its favor — this means a ruling from the judge on the cases without going to trial. However, in all but one, Judge Colin Winchester denied Eigigu’s summary judgment motions and scheduled the disputes for trial. Eigigu, which is representing the Nauru government, is seeking to evict sublease holders from the former Eastern Gateway Hotel complex in Majuro that is located across from the government’s capital building. Attorney Divine Waiti is representing Eigigu.
Winchester declared an oral lease for the fourth floor roof area of the Eastern Gateway held by Chen to be invalid because it violated the law that states any leasehold of more than one year must be in writing.
Winchester said testimony in the case showed that Chen entered into several written subleases and one oral sublease. “The oral sublease grants Chen Wan Ben exclusive access to and use of the roof area of the Eastern Gateway Hotel until 2021,” said Winchester in his order.
His order invalidating the oral sublease for the roof does not affect Chen’s other written subleases.
Chen’s attorney Witten Philippo argued that the law applied only to land, not to a lease on a building. But Winchester said the “plain language” of Marshall Islands Revised Code Section 437 applies not only to “contracts with respect to land” but also to “leaseholds for a term of more than one year.” Winchester concluded that based on Section 437, the oral sublease “is not valid, and on that issue, Plaintiff is entitled to partial summary judgment.”
The other civil disputes are scheduled for trial the second week of October before Judge Winchester.
Read more about this in the September 28, 2018 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.