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  • Sabru Motors Nig. Ltd. v. Rajab Ent. Nig. Ltd
  • 116
  • 2002-08-19
  • ₦ 200
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Sabru Motors Nig. Ltd. v. Rajab Ent. Nig. Ltd

SABRU MOTORS NIGERIA LIMITED

V

RAJAB ENTERPRISES NIGERIA LIMITED

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

IDRIS LEGBO KUTIGI, JSC ( Presided )

EMANUEL OBIOMA OGWUEGBU, JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment )

ANTHONY IKECHUKWU IGUH, JSC

ALOYSIUS IYORGYER KATSINA-ALU, JSC

EMMANUEL OLAYINKA AYOOLA, JSC

SC.116/1997

FRIDAY, 12TH APRIL, 2002

APPEAL - Award of damages by trial court - Attitude of appellate court thereto - When appellate court will reverse

DAMAGES - Award of damages by trial court - Attitude of appellate court thereto - When appellate court will reverse

EVIDENCE - Proof - Facts admitted - Whether need further proof - Section 75 , Evidence Act

SALE OF GOODS - Contract of sale of goods - Breach of - Measure of damages - Where there is available market for goods - How determined - Section 51(3) Sale of Goods Act

SALE OF GOODS - Seller failing to deliver goods duly paid for by buyer Right of buyer to sue for damages or restitution of the money paid

STATUTE - Sales of Goods Act, section 51(3) - Consideration and application of

Issue:

Whether the Court of Appeal was right, after finding the plaintiff’s evidence on damages inconsistent and/or contradictory, to have reviewed the same damages of N1,692,519.40 awarded by the trial court to N3,000,000.00 by placing reliance on the pleadings of the parties.

Facts:

The plaintiff/respondent herein entered into a contract of sale of 2 Mercedes Benz Trucks Model L.911/48C at a unit cost of N846,000.00 with the defendant/appellant an accredited distributor of the Anambra Motor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (Anambra).  The plaintiff paid a total of N1,692,519.40 for the two trucks with a bank draft.  When the defendant failed to deliver the vehicles, the plaintiff commenced the action at the High Court of Adamawa State claiming the money originally paid to the defendant for the delivery of the two trucks and additional sum of N4,307,000.00 which the plaintiff will have to add to the original sum paid to the defendant, if the plaintiff were to buy the two trucks in the open market or in the alternative an order compelling the defendant to deliver the vehicle to the plaintiff.  At the conclusion of hearing, the trial court found for the plaintiff and awarded the sum of N1,692,519.40 being the price paid to the defendant with interest and N300,000.00 as damages. Dissatisfied, the plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeal.  The Court of Appeal held that the trial court ought to have awarded the sum of N1,307,480.00 to the plaintiff being the difference between the contract price of the two trucks and their current market price of N3,000,000.00 as at the time of default.  Aggrieved with the said judgment, the defendant appealed to the Supreme Court.

The court considered the following provisions of the Sale of Goods Act, sections 51(1), (2), (3):-

“51 (1) Where the seller wrongfully neglects or refuses to deliver the goods to the buyer, the buyer may maintain an action against the seller for damages for non-delivery.

(2)          The measure of damages is the estimated loss directly and naturally resulting, in the ordinary course of events, from the seller’s breach of contract.

(3)          Where there is an available market for the goods in question the measure of damages is prima facie to be ascertained by the difference between the contract price and the market or current price of the goods at the time or times when they ought to have been delivered, or, if no time was fixed, then at the time of the refusal to deliver.”

“54. Nothing in this Act shall affect the right of the buyer or the seller... to recover money paid where the consideration for the payment of it has failed.”