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Court To Decide On Objections To Claimants’ N50b Suit Against Shell

The High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has set aside March 23 and 24 to hear and decide on preliminary injunctions to the N50billion suit filed against the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).

A couple and employees of Shell, Emeka and Stella Okoli, filed the suit seeking damages for medical negligence by Shell Hospital in Port Harcourt during an appendectomy operation on their child, Chinazam.

Chinazam, the only son of the claimants, suffered brain damage and remained incapacitated, confined to a wheelchair following the alleged negligent surgical procedure by the Shell hospital and its doctors.

Those sued alongside Shell as second and third defendants are Dr. Alexander Dimoko and Dr. Dafe Akpoduado, who performed the appendectomy surgery on Chinazam in September 2016.

The defendants, through their lawyers, are labouring to stop the court from hearing the substantive matter through their applications on technicalities involved in serving processes.

When the court resumed yesterday to consider the preliminary objections, the lawyer to the claimants, Prof. Akin Ibidapo-Obe, informed the presiding judge, Justice Weli Chechey, of his fresh applications to amend the writ of summons and to increase the damages to N60billion.

The counsel for Shell, Cyriacus Orlu and that of the second and third defendants, Michael Amadi, told the court that their separate applications were hinged on an argument that the writ of summons used in commencing the action was incurably bad.

They said the writ was not in line with sections 97 and 98 of the Rules of Sheriff and Civil Processes Act and that the suit should be dismissed.

But Ibidapo-Obe insisted that he already raised a motion to amend the writ of summons and asked the court to be guided on the priority of hearing the applications, saying the defendants could not depend on the Sherriff Act to declare a writ incompetent.

Chechey adjourned the matter till March 27 and 28 for further hearing.

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