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Ruthlinz Inter’l Invest. Ltd v. Ihebuzor

RUTHLINZ INTER’L INVEST. LTD & ANOR.

V

MRS. STELLA IHEBUZOR

COURT OF APPEAL

( PORT HARCOURT DIVISION )

EJEMBI EKO JCA ( Presided )

THERESA NGOLIKA ORJI-ABADUA JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment)

BITRUS GYARAZAMA SANGA JCA

CA/PH/317/2012

MONDAY, 7 SEPTEMBER 2015

ACTION - Representative suit - Capacity in which suit is brought -  Duty on party suing to state

ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATE - Execution de son tort - Who is

CONTRACT - Locus standi to sue on a contract - Party with no privity to contract exercising - Impropriety of

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Pre-judgment interest - Court’s jurisdiction to determine - Basis of

JURISDICTION - Locus standi - Status of as basis for court’s jurisdiction to determine a matter

JURISDICTION - Pre-judgment interest - Court’s jurisdiction to determine - Basis of

LANDLORD AND TENANT - Mesne profit - Mesne profit to which an owner of property is entitled - Determinant of what qualifies as

LANDLORD AND TENANT - Rent or mesne profit - Difference between

LOCUS STANDI - Issue of locus standi - Importance of

LOCUS STANDI - Issue of locus standi - Stage at which a defendant can raise

LOCUS STANDI - Locus standi in a matter - Determinant of - Party’s statement of claim as

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Execution de son tort’ - Who is

Issues:

  1. Whether the learned trial judge was right when he held that the appellants have no defence on the merits to the action as required under Order 11, rule 10 of the  High Court of Rivers State (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2010.
  2. Whether the learned trial judge was right when he held that the suit was competent.
  3. Whether the learned trial judge was right when he held that the 2nd appellant was properly joined as a party.

Facts:

The respondent instituted an action at an  High Court of Rivers State where she claimed the sum of N15,500,000.00 ( fifteen million five hundred thousand naira) as three (3) years rent on her husband’s property pursuant to a tenancy agreement between the appellants and her husband in 2008; and interest on the sum at the rate of twenty percent (20%) from February 2008. The suit as ordered by the court was placed on the undefended list. The appellants filed a notice of intention to defend and an affidavit disclosing a defence to the suit. The trial court proceeded to hear the suit under the undefended list procedure. The court in its judgment granted the 1st respondent’s relief of N15,500,000.00 (fifteen million five hundred thousand naira) as claimed.

Dissatisfied, the appellants appealed on grounds that the trial court erred when it held that the appellants have no defence on the merits to the action and as such their suit was incompetent.