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P.S.H.S.M.B v. Goshwe

  1. PLATEAU STATE HEALTH SERVICES MANAGEMENT BOARD
  2. PLATEAU HOSPITAL JOS

V

INSPECTOR PHILIP FITOKA GOSHWE

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

MAHMUD MOHAMMED JSC ( Presided )

MUHAMMAD SAIFULLAH MUNTAKA-COOMASSIE JSC

SULEIMAN GALADIMA JSC

NWALI SYLVESTER NGWUTA JSC

STANLEY SHENKO ALAGOA JSC (Read the Lead Judgment)

SC.229/2003

FRIDAY, 7 DECEMBER 2012

APPEAL - Issues for determination - Modification or reframing of Appellate court - Powers of therefor - Exercise of - Party who alleges miscarriage of justice on grounds of - Onus on

EVIDENCE -  Affidavit - Uncontroverted facts in - Effect of - Proof required for - Nature of

MAXIM - Res ipsa loquitur - Meaning of - Doctrine of - When applicable - Purport of - Rebuttable presumption of

TORT - Res ipsa loquitur - Meaning of - Doctrine of - When applicable -  Purport of - Rebuttable presumption of

WORDS AND PHRASES - Res ipsa loquitur - Meaning of - Doctrine of -  When applicable - Purport of - Rebuttable presumption of

Issues:

  1. Whether the learned justices of the Court of Appeal were right in coming to the conclusion that “res ipsa loquitur” applied in this case when it was established that the learned trial judge did not comply with section 57 of the Evidence Act or in the alternative, what is the remedy available to an appellant whose appeal succeeds in part?
  2. Whether the justices of the Court of Appeal were right in rearranging the issues and determining the appeal based on the appellants’ original rather than the amended/additional grounds.

Facts:

The plaintiff/respondent, a police inspector, claimed to have gone to the 2nd defendant’s hospital to be treated for pneumonia but had become deaf after the treatment. That a panel of inquiry set up by the defendants concluded that the deafness was due to some injections he received at the hospital. The panel recommended that plaintiff’s employers buy drugs that could cure the deafness and that he be transferred to duties that will not require communication. It further recommended that the plaintiff be dismissed on health grounds, as a result of which he lost his job. He therefore commenced an action in the High Court of Plateau State, claiming N2,000,000.00 (two million naira) as general and special damages for the negligent conduct of defendants which led to the permanent disability of his hearing senses. He relied on doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. The trial court granted the relief claimed in the sum of N300,000.00 (three hundred thousand naira). Aggrieved, the defendants appealed to the Court of Appeal where the appeal was dismissed and yet aggrieved, the defendants appealed to the Supreme Court.