Liberia: Judge Peabody Denies Agriculture Minister, Others Motion in Rodney Sieh’s Land Case


MONROVIA — The sixth Judicial Circuit Civil Law court of Judge Kennedy J. Peabody has denied and dismissed the motion for a special appearance in the case involving Rodney D. Sieh plaintiff and defendants Elsie Cooper, Jeanie Cooper, and Alex Garley, and all those under control for Action of ejectment case, on May 12, 2022

Report by Victoria G. Wesseh, Contributing Writer

Judge Peabody in his ruling that it is the considered opinion of the court that Cllr. Joyce Woods was hired by Movant and Movant having filed her answer to the respondent plaintiff’s complaint, there is no need for the Motion for a special appearance. “Hence, the Motion is hereby denied and dismissed. And hereby Ordered.

Judge Peabody indicated that chapter 3 subsection 3.6 of the Civil procedure law, provides that ” service of an answer or a notice of appearance or the making by the defendant of a motion constitutes an appearance by him.

Judge Peabody further said that  a perusal of the record of the case revealed an answer filed by the Movant to the complaint of the plaintiff which brought her under the jurisdiction of the court

Judge Peabody pointed out that therefore, the issue of personal jurisdiction of the Movant defendant is moot and can not be raised at this time. Interesting, the Civil procedure law provides that an appearance by the defendant is equidistant to personal service of the summons upon him unless an objection to the jurisdiction of the person is asserted by motion under section 11.2 (1)(b) or in the answer and is upheld by the court.

He said in the instant case, that the issue of jurisdiction was not raised by the Movant defendant in an answer filed on August 25, 2021. Therefore, the court says the Movant defendant was property brought under the jurisdiction of the court.

He also added that  the court says the Supreme Court has held that ‘A special Appearance is an application to the court for relief in the nature of a motion predicated upon the defectiveness of The service and the lack of jurisdiction of the court over the person of the defendant for improper service of process, it is a submission to the jurisdiction of the court for some  specific purpose only, not for all the purpose of the suite; for the testing or objecting to the  sufficiency of the service or jurisdiction.”

 “The supreme court held that a plea of estoppel is a good plea and will prevent a party from denying his act, if well-founded, and neither law nor equity will permit a party to disclaim his own act. LAC V Etilo et 33 LLR 480 (1985) Jeanie Cooper having benefited from the representation of Cllr. Woods, can not now come and say that she did not hire her services only after Cllr. Woods informed Jeanie Cooper of her legal fees. She can not disclaim her action of hiring Cllr. Woods services only because she does not want to pay for her services, accounting to her, because the court should have paid her  expenses in the case held in the magisterial court in Paynesville, equity will not allow Movant after she has benefited.”

It can be recalled that an action of ejectment was filed on March 12, 2021 as a result on March 24, 2021, co-defendant William G. Findley filed the answer.

On April 16, 2021, co-defendant Jeanie Cooper filed a motion for enlargement of time by Cllr. Joyce Reeves Woods. On the day of march 2021, the respondent plaintiff files his response to the motion for enragement or time and conceded to the motion that it is in harmony with the law.

The court granted the motion for enlargement of time on the 14  day of  June 2021. On the 13 day of August 2021 Co- defendant Jeanie Cooper filed her answer and annexed letters of administration bearing the names of Jeanie Cooper and Ruben Cooper as administrators of the interstate Estate of John L. Cooper and Julius E. Cooper and a certified copy of a warrant deed bearing name of Julius E. Cooper.