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  • S.C.C. (Nig.) Ltd. vs. Igueriniovo
  • 189
  • 2004-01-12
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S.C.C. (Nig.) Ltd. vs. Igueriniovo

S.C.C. NIGERIA LIMITED

SANNI MUMUNI

LUCKY UKUSEMUYA

V

MRS. ESTHER IGUERINIOVO

COURT OF APPEAL

( BENIN DIVISION )

RABIU DANLAMI MOHAMMED, JCA ( Presided )

MUHAMMAD SAIFULLAHI MUNTAKA-COOMASSIE, JCA KUMAI BAYANG AKAAHS, JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

CA/B/319/99

THURSDAY, 16TH JANUARY, 2003

ACTION - Action in negligence - Successful maintenance thereof Requirements therefor

ACTION - Appeal court - Interference of with award of damages by trial court - Principles guiding

COURT - Appeal court - Interference of with award of damages by trial court - Principles guiding

COURT - Award of damages for pain and suffering thereby Assumption on which to make

COURT - Trial court - Unchallenged evidence - When will not countenance in sustaining plaintiff’s claim

DAMAGES - General damages - Award of for pain and suffering Assumption of court in so making

DAMAGES - General damages - Claim for pain and suffering resulting from injuries sustained in accident - Whether medical evidence required  to justify award of - Basis of enhancement thereof DAMAGES - Personal injury cases - Determining factors in assessing damages therefor

EVIDENCE - Burden of proof - Where defendant pleads contributory negligence - On whom lies

EVIDENCE - Unchallenged evidence - When trial court will not countenance in sustaining plaintiff’s claim

TORT - Negligence - Action therefor - Requirements for successful maintenance of

TORT - Negligence - Contributory negligence - Burden of proof of On whom lies

TORT - Negligence - Contributory negligence - Plea of - Concomitant effect on defendant’s case

TORT - Negligence - Res ipsa loquitur - Doctrine of - Erroneous invocation of - When becomes moot point vis-a-vis liability of tortfeasor

TORT - Negligence - Res ipsa loquitur - Doctrine of - Where not specifically pleaded or positively alleged in statement of claim Effect

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Vicarious liability’ - Definition of

Issues:

1.              Whether the negligence of the 2nd and 3rd appellants was decided on the facts specifically pleaded by the respondent.

2.              Whether the lower court was correct in invoking the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur when:

(i)            it was not pleaded

(ii)          no facts were pleaded to support the doctrine; and (iii) it was not relied upon by the respondent.

3.              Whether the lower court was correct in assessing damages due to the respondent at N15.5 million?

Facts:

The plaintiff suffered a personal injury when one of the huge pipes which were loaded in a trailer with Registration No. LA 9677TD rolled and damaged her right leg which had to be amputated. At the time of the accident, the trailer was being driven by 2nd and 3rd defendants, both employees of the 1st defendant. The plaintiff sued the defendants jointly and severally claiming N20,000,000.00 as damages for negligence. Pleadings were ordered and filed with the plaintiff amending her statement of claim three times. The defendants amended their statement of defence only once and the plaintiff filed a reply thereto. Four witnesses including the plaintiff testified in the case. The defendants however did not call any witness and rested their case on the evidence of the plaintiff and her witnesses. Judgment was entered for the plaintiff based on the 3rd amended statement of claim dated 27/8/98 and filed on 10/9/98 but deemed duly filed on 30/9/98. The plaintiff was awarded N15,500,000.00 as general damages with 10% rate of interest per annum until the judgment debt is paid. In addition costs of N50,000.00 were assessed in favour of the plaintiff.

The defendants appealed against the judgment.