Civil Law Court “A” Squashes US$1.8M Guilty Verdict Against Cellcom
Monrovia – The Civil Law Court “A” at the Temple of Justice on Tuesday, set aside a liable verdict rendered by a 12 member jury of the court against Cellcom GSM Company.
Report by Kennedy l. Yangian – [email protected]
The jurors of the court in early July this year held the company liable to pay damages in the amount of US$1.8M to an accident victim, Lucia Lamine, after a hearing into her complaint filed to the court.
In her complaint, victim Lucia Lamine represented by the Heritage Partner and Associates indicated that on August 18, 2012, she sustained injury after a vehicle owned by Cellcom hit her and she felt to the ground while riding a motorbike en-route from Gbarnga to Phebe in Bong County.
She claimed that following the accident, she was first taken to the Phebe Hospital in Gbarnga and later transferred to the John F. Kennedy Hospital for further treatment.
At the JFK Hospital, the victim claimed that she underwent clinical and x-ray investigations which established that a dislocation of the symphysis pubis and a fracture of the left interior ramus pubis.
The victim, according to court record, first filed a lawsuit of damages for personal injury at the 9th Judicial Circuit Court in Gbarnga, Bong County for personal injury she suffered in February 2015 and claimed LD$10,000 for special damages, US$300,000 for the pain and suffering for over two years after the accident and US$100,000 also for the pain and mental anguish and inconveniences and her absence from school and also US$420, 000 for the mental torture.
The case was later transferred to the Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice where she requested for damages in the amount of US$1.8m total.
During the trial at the Civil Law Court “A”, the defendant, represented by the Tweh, Pierre and Associates, produced five witnesses, amongst them two medical specialists at the JFK Hospital while the victim produced six witnesses, two rebuttal witnesses, police report and two medical reports from two medical institutions from Ghana.
At the end of the trial, the 12-member jurors held the Cellcom GSM Company liable to pay in damages in the amount of US$1.8m to the victim for the injury she sustained.
“We the jurors do agreed that having carefully observed the evidence in this case hereby found Cellcom liable for damages in the amount of US$1.8M,” said the jurors verdict but lawyers representing the defendant objected to the verdict and filed a motion to the Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice for re-trial.
In the motion for re-trial, the defense lawyers claimed that the juror’s liable verdict was quiet contrary to the weight of evidence adduced at the trial which warrant the case for re-trial.
According to the defense lawyer led by Cllr. James E. Pierre, the jurors’ verdict need to be set aside because the verdict was indefinite and not specific in respect to the allocation of the individual amount as was prayed for by the plaintiff.
While the plaintiff’s lawyer, Abraham Sillah, asked the court not to set the verdict aside because the verdict was based on the evidence adduced at the trial by the plaintiff’s lawyers.
However, in his ruling for the motion for new trial, Judge Yussif Kaba indicated that the court noted that the jury awarded the damages of US$1,8M and LD$10,000 without any evidence being produced by the plaintiff.
“Therefore, in the interest of justice the verdict should be and same is hereby set aside and a new trial awarded and before the commencement of the new trial, the plaintiff/victim is ordered to submit to an independent medical examination at any specialized medical institution in Africa, the cost and expense will be for the account of the defendant,” said Judge Yussif Kaba.
Judge Kaba continued that the parties should meet and decide which specialized hospital in Africa will conduct the examination and there should be written reports from all the attending or consulting doctors who will examine or administer treatment to the plaintiff, the judge said.
His ruling was excepted by the counsel of the plaintiff who asked for an appeal but was also denied on ground it was an interrogatory ruling.