By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
A Nigerian Freedom of Information (FOI) Act researcher, Barr. President Aigbokhan has sued the South Western Law School in Los Angeles, alleging racial discrimination and libelous publication.
He is among others asking a BENIN high court for the sum of One Million One Hundred Thousand US dollars as damages against the defendants jointly and severally for publication.
The amounts being claimed are for the libelous publications and the cost of action of the prosecution of the suit No: B/288/2018 and dated 13th day of November 2018.
The claimant is also asking the court to compel the defendants (South Western Law school, Prof. Michael M. Epsten and Susan Westerberg Prager) to retract libelous words and other defamatory statements published of the claimant on three international newspapers and two national newspapers including New York Times and Guardian Newspaper, soft and hard copies to be delivered to the claimant within 48 hours of the publication.
According to the endorsement on claim filed on 7th day of June 2018, the claimant who is a renowned Author, said he “sent a journal for publication on request to the defendants together and separately with its Journal of International Law (JIL) and Journal and Journal of International Media and Entertainment Law (JIMIL) of South Western Law School, Los Angelles in the year 2016 with respect to “FOI Sovereignty”.
He deposed that “The article was accepted for presentation at the annual conference of the school and for publication in both JIL and JIMEL.
“Surprisingly, after two years, the claimant was sent a libelous email informing him of the suspension of his publication of his publication and the email was published to a third party in Nigeria”, he said.
He said the defendant’s has caused that claimant severe and physical and psychological pains and has lowered his image and self-esteem in the society”.
Delivering his ruling on a preliminary objection by Counsel to the defendants, challenging the jurisdiction of the court on whether a Benin high court has the jurisdiction to hear the case on Wednesday, Justice Anthony Erhabor, said the court has the jurisdiction to hear the case moreso when one of the parties involved lives in Benin City.
He held that the defendants in the case should come from Los Angelles to defend their action.
Justice Erhabor’s ruling, was in response to the preliminary objection by Counsel to the defendants, Mr. R. A. Oluyede and filed on October 15, 2019.