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  • Rinco Const. Co. Ltd. vs. Veepee Ind. Ltd.
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  • 2005-06-20
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Rinco Const. Co. Ltd. vs. Veepee Ind. Ltd.

RINCO CONSTRUCTION CO. LTD.

V

VEEPEE INDUSTRIES LTD. & ANOR

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

SYLVESTER UMARU ONU JSC ( Presided )

UMARU ATU KALGO JSC

AKINTOLA OLUFEMI EJIWUNMI JSC (Read the Lead Judgment)

NIKI TOBI JSC

DENNIS ONYEJIFE EDOZIE JSC

SC. 295/2001

FRIDAY, 4TH MARCH, 2005 

ACTION - Cause of action - Meaning and constituent of

ACTION - Liability in civil proceedings - What plaintiff must prove to find defendant liable therein

ACTION  Parties - Joinder of parties to an action - Rationale for - Proper party to an action

ACTION - Reasonable cause of action - Meaning of

EVIDENCE - Liability in civil proceedings - What plaintiff must prove to find defendant liable therein

PLEADINGS - Statement of claim - When can be held to disclose reasonable cause of action

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Cause of action - Documents court will examine in determining the disclosure or otherwise of a cause of action - Relevance of only plaintiff’s pleadings


PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Joinder of parties to an action Rationale for - Proper party to an action

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Liability in civil proceedings - What plaintiff must prove to find defendant liable therein

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Reasonable cause of action - Meaning of

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Statement of claim - When can be held to disclose reasonable cause of action

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Cause of action’ - Meaning and constituent of

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Reasonable cause of action’ - Meaning of

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Reasonable’ - Meaning of in the context of the phrase ‘reasonable cause of action’

Issue:

Whether the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal were correct in holding that the writ of summons and statement of claim did not disclose a reasonable cause of action against the 1st respondent.

Facts:

Sometime in 1985, the appellant paid for and incurred other expenses as regards the purchase and installation of a 300KVA electricity transformer which was installed in its temporary factory premises at No. 18 Idiroko Road, Sango Ota by the 2nd respondent.

While the appellant was in the process of having the transformer moved to its permanent site and arrangement for the movement was in progress in 1987, the appellant alleged that the 1st respondent started making representations to the 2nd respondent that it had become the owner of the transformer, following the assignment of the temporary factory premises by the owner to it and thus, the transformer should not be moved for the benefit of the appellant to its new site. The appellant thus sued the respondents seeking an order of court commanding the 1st respondent and their agents to withdraw any representation they might have made to the 2 nd respondent, a restraining order, restraining the 1st respondent, their agents, privies and assigns from ever making such claims as well as damages.

Although the appellant filed a statement of claim and the 2nd respondent a statement of defence, the 1st respondent did not file any statement of defence, but brought a motion on notice praying the court to set aside appellant’s writ for failing to disclose any triable cause of action against it. The trial Judge in his ruling upheld the contention of the 1st respondent, holding that the 1st respondent was not a necessary party to the action and was improperly joined. Dissatisfied with this ruling, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal which upheld the decision of the trial court.

Further dissatisfied, the appellant has appealed to the Supreme Court.