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  • Federal Mortgage Finance Ltd v. Ekpo
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  • 2005-02-28
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Federal Mortgage Finance Ltd v. Ekpo

FEDERAL MORTGAGE FINANCE LTD.

V

HOPE OFFIONG EKPO

COURT OF APPEAL

(CALABAR DIVISION)

SIMEON OSUJI EKPE JCA ( Presided )

SULE AREMU OLAGUNJU JCA

ISTIFANUS THOMAS JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

CA/C/37M/2002

TUESDAY, 18TH FEBRUARY, 2003

APPEAL - Respondent who has not cross-appealed complaining about a decision - Impropriety of

COURT - Damages - Award of by trial court - When appellate court will interfere with

COURT - Speculation or guesswork - Court acting on - Impropriety of

DAMAGES - Award of by trial court - When appeal court will interfere with

DAMAGES - General damages - Award of - When improper

DAMAGES - General damages - Award of by trial court - Whether based on evidence on record - How ascertained

DAMAGES - General damages - Meaning and nature of

DAMAGES - Mental agony as a ground in claim for - Meaning of DOCUMENT - Failure of party to tender document relied on Impropriety of - Presumption of law against such party

EVIDENCE - Assertions - Duty on he who asserts to prove

EVIDENCE - Burden of proof - Two types of in civil cases

EVIDENCE - Presumptions - Failure of party to tender document relied on - Impropriety of - Presumption of law against

EVIDENCE - Speculation or guesswork - Court acting on - Impropriety of

EVIDENCE - Written agreement - Party relying on - Duty on to tender in evidence or give secondary evidence of

MASTER AND SERVANT - Conditions of service - Employee complaining of breach of - Duty on

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Financial hardship’ - Meaning of

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘General damages’ - Meaning and nature of

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Mental agony’ - Meaning of as a ground in claim for damages

Issues:

1.              Whether the respondent from the pleadings and evidence was able to discharge the burden of proof on him to merit the judgment awarded him.

2.              Whether the award of general damages of N250,000.00 to the respondent flowed from the evidence before the learned trial Judge.

Facts:

The respondent who had served the appellant for eight years, starting from 13th November, 1989, tendered his resignation letter and paid one months’s salary in lieu of notice on 21st day of May, 1998. The appellant accepted the resignation with a promise, that the respondent’s gratuity would be paid less his indebtedness. The respondent was also informed that, should his attention be required on any issue he had handled, he would be called upon. The respondent wrote letters of demand for his gratuity to the appellant to no avail. In the course of events, the appellant wrote to the respondent, accusing him of misappropriation of the sum of N105,707.28 which the respondent denied. Consequently, the respondent as plaintiff filed an action in the court below claiming a declaration that he was entitled to be paid his gratuity based on the appellant’s Staff Conditions of Service and general damages of N3 million. The appellant counter-claimed the alleged misappropriated amount of N105,707.28.

At the conclusion of the trial, the trial court granted all the claims of the respondent except the claim for general damages of N3 million which was reduced to N250,000.00.

Dissatisfied, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.