Case Caption: In Re: Government Of The Virgin Islands,Case Number: S.Ct.Civ. No.: 2011-0029Date: 05/18/2011Author: Per CuriamCitation: Summary:

The Court holds that the Government of the Virgin Islands is entitled to a writ of mandamus directing a judge of the Superior Court to issue an order either granting the Government's motion to vest title pursuant to section 421(a) of title 28 of the Virgin Islands Code or explaining why the requirements of section 421(a) have not been met. Because the Government has not merely alleged that the judge has failed to rule on its motion, but has breached a ministerial duty to immediately grant its motion if the requirements of section 421 have been met, compliance with the judge's order that the Government file proof of service by publication is not an adequate alternative to mandamus review. Moreover, the Court holds that the Government has a clear and indisputable right to the relief sought because, although section 416(b) of title 28 requires that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 71.1 apply to condemnation proceedings, the plain text of the "quick take" provision in section 421(a) provides that title vests in the Government immediately "[u]pon the filing of said declaration of taking and deposit in the court," without listing service as a prerequisite to the vesting of title. Finally, the Court holds that mandamus relief is appropriate under the circumstances because issuing a writ of mandamus would effectuate the intent of the Legislature and a decision not to issue a writ could cause the Government to continue to incur daily penalties with its contractor.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion