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CHUDI VERDICAL COMPANY LIMITED v. IFESINACHI INDUSTRIES NIGERIA LIMITED & ANOR

(2018) LPELR-44701(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 8th day of June, 2018

SC.246/2009


Before Their Lordships

MUSA DATTIJO MUHAMMAD Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

KUDIRAT MOTONMORI OLATOKUNBO KEKERE-EKUN Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

EJEMBI EKO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

PAUL ADAMU GALINJE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

CHUDI VERDICAL CO. LTD - Appellant(s)

AND

1. IFESINACHI INDUSTRIES NIG. LTD
2. FELIX EDEOGA - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.
FACTS:
This is an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division, upturning the decision of the High Court of Anambra State.

The plaintiff/appellant's case was that, the negligent act of the defendants, caused damage to its petrol service station. The doctrine of Res Ipsa loquitur was asserted in the alternative. The plaintiff/appellant's claims against the defendants/respondents jointly and severally was for:
"(1) The sum of N13,532,464.00k (Thirteen million, five hundred and thirty two thousand, four hundred and sixty four naira) being special and general damages arising from the damage and loss occasioned to the Plaintiff by the defendants.
(2) Cost of the action."

The defendants/respondents denied liability in their statement of defence.

Their case was that, armed robbers overpowered the 2nd defendant/respondent at Amansea, took over control of and drove the Mercedes marcopolo bus. After robbing the passengers, set the vehicle ablaze at the appellant's petrol service station.

With pleadings filed and exchanged, the case proceeded to trial. At the end of trial, including addresses of counsel, the Court entered judgment in favour of the plaintiff/appellant. Respondents' appeal to the Court of Appeal was successful. Appellant appealed to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
The issues for determination are:
"(1) Whether the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal were right in their decision that the plea of res ipsa loquitur by the appellant and the reliance on same by the trial Court were both misconceived?
(2) Whether the learned Justices of the Court of Appeal were right in dismissing the award of special damages by the trial Court?"

DECISION/HELD:
In a majority decision, the appeal was dismissed. Eko, J.S.C. dissented.


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