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  • Neka B.B.B. Manufacturing Co. Ltd. vs. A.C.B. Ltd
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  • 2004-03-15
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Neka B.B.B. Manufacturing Co. Ltd. vs. A.C.B. Ltd

NEKA B.B.B. MANUFACTURING CO. LTD.

V

AFRICAN CONTINENTAL BANK LTD.

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

IDRIS LEGBO KUTIGI, JSC ( Presided )

SYLVESTER UMARU ONU, JSC

ANTHONY IKECHUKWU IGUH, JSC

SAMSON ODEMWINGIE UWAIFO, JSC

IGNATIUS C. PATS-ACHOLONU, JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment )

SC. 32/1997

FRIDAY, 16TH JANUARY, 2004

ACTION - Claims - Incomprehensible formulation of - Attitude of court thereto

ACTION - Contract - Invitation to treat - Whether can form the basis of any cause of action

APPEAL - Issues - Formulation of by both appellant and respondent -

Whether those of the respondent can be preferred to the appellant’s

APPEAL - Issues - Whether can be formulated suo motu by the appellate court

COMMERCIAL LAW - ‘Profit’  - Meaning of

COMMERCIAL LAW - Business venture - What is - Whether the existence thereof connote profit

COMMERCIAL LAW - Contract - Invitation to treat - Whether can form the basis of any cause of action

COMMERCIAL LAW - Contract concerned with rendering of benefits Breach of - Damages claimable thereunder

COMMERCIAL LAW - Negotiation - Whether same as contract

COMMERCIAL LAW - Proforma invoice - Whether evidence of contract

CONTRACT - Elements of

CONTRACT - Invitation to treat - Whether can form the basis of any cause of action

CONTRACT - Negotiation - Whether same as contract

CONTRACT - Proforma invoice - Whether evidence of contract

COURT - Claims - Incomprehensible formulation of - Attitude of court thereto

DAMAGES - Contract concerned with rendering of benefits - Breach of -

Damages claimable thereunder

DAMAGES - Detinue and conversion - Damages for

DAMAGES - Special and general damages - Award of - How one differs from the other

DAMAGES - Special damages - Failure to plead and prove - Effect

DAMAGES - Special damages - Need to specifically plead and prove in the right way

DAMAGES - Special damages - What is

DAMAGES - Special damages - Need not to be remote or speculative

EVIDENCE - Proof - Evidence which will qualify as

EVIDENCE - Special damages - Strict proof of - How to plead and establish EVIDENCE - Weak or unbelievable evidence - Whether need be challenged

EVIDENCE - Whether can be substituted by pleadings or advocacy PLEADINGS - Special damages - How to plead and establish strict proof of

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Issues - Formulation of by both appellant and respondent - Whether those of the respondent can be preferred over the appellant’s

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Issues - Whether can be formulated suo motu by the appellate court

TORT - Detinue aned conversion - Damages for WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Profit’  - Meaning of

Issue:

Whether on the pleadings and evidence, there is a legal basis for the award of special damages or, in the alternative, whether the (plaintiff) appellant discharged the burden of proof required to succeed in its claim for special damages.

Facts:

The plaintiff/appellant had obtained a loan from the Nigerian Building Society by using the title deeds of two of their Directors as collateral. The defendant/respondent redeemed the loan facility hitherto granted by the Nigerian Building Society and retained the title deeds formerly in the possession of the Nigerian Building society as security. The appellant claim that later they paid their indebtedness to the respondent and demanded the return of the title deeds of its Directors which were being detained by the respondent. The appellant wanted to retrieve the title deeds so as to use them to secure loans from the Union Bank and other financial institutions. The appellant asserts that it had good and reasonable business propositions from some foreign companies and needed facility from a bank to be in a position to engage in those business concerns. But that the refusal by the respondent to release these title documents robbed the appellant of the gains or profits that would have been realized had the proposed transactions succeeded. The respondent joined issues with the appellant and asserted that the title documents were missing, and not wilfully detained. Also, the respondent availed the appellant with certified true copy of the title documents to enable appellant pursue their alleged applications or offers for loan.

At the conclusion of trial, the learned trial Judge awarded general and special damages to the plaintiff/appellant. On appeal by the defendant, the Court of Appeal dismissed the claim for special damages. Aggrieved, the plaintiff filed this appeal to the apex court.