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  • SPDC Ltd v. Amachree
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  • 2002-11-25
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SPDC Ltd v. Amachree

THE SHELL P. D. C. OF NIGERIA LIMITED

V

CHIEF W. W. AMACHREE

CHIEF J. WILLIAM WEST

CHIEF A. E. IDONIBOYE-OBU

SURV. C. T. HORSFALL

M. D. OJUKA

P. B. TOM IKIRIKO

( for themselves and as representing the Buguma Community and the Amanyanabo of Kalabari)

H. R. N. OBAYE ABBIYE-SUKU AMAKIRI X

COURT OF APPEAL

( PORT HARCOURT DIVISION )

JAMES OGENYI OGEBE, JCA ( Presided )

I. CHUKWUDI PATS-ACHONOLU, JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

ABOYI JOHN IKONGBEH, JCA

CA/PH/67/95

THURSDAY, 21ST JUNE, 2001

COURT - Party who won appeal - Court advising same to consider ex gratia payment to party who lost for public relationship purposes

TORT - Negligence - Meaning and proof of - Duty on defendant to show that he used a reasonable care

TORT - Negligence - Res ipsa loquitur - Application of - Whether act of third party can render inapplicable

TORT - Negligence - Res ipsa loquitur - When improper to rely on

TORT - Negligence - Res ipsa loquitur - When presumed

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Res ipsa loquitur’ - Meaning of


Issue:

Was the finding of negligence against the defendant based on proof that it in fact failed to take reasonable care to prevent the oil spillage on the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur?

Facts:

The plaintiffs/respondents instituted an action against the defendant/ appellant claiming N10 million as damages for an oil spillage from the company’s pipe, resulting in immense damages.

The plaintiffs/respondents further alleged negligence on the part of the defendant/appellant and relied on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. On the other hand, the defendant/appellant admitted occurrence of oil spillage though in small measure but attributed the spillage to acts of some third party who maliciously tampered with a 16 inch valve on the delivery line. The investigating Police officer equally observed that the spillage was caused by a third party.

The trial court, at the conclusion of hearing gave judgment in favour of the respondents by awarding a sum of N3.5 million as general damages. The defendant/appellant being aggrieved with the said decision brought this appeal.