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Nigerian Court Has Jurisdiction to Entertain Suit Against US University


A Benin High Court, Wednesday, ruled that it has jurisdiction to entertain a suit against a United States-based University.
The ruling followed a suit instituted by a Benin City-based lawyer, Barr. President Aigbokhan, against South Western Law School, Los Angeles, USA, over alleged racial discrimination and libelous publication.
Other defendants in the suit are Prof. Michael M. Epsten and Susan Westerberg Prager.
The lawyer is asking a Benin High Court to compel the United States University to pay him $1,100,000 as damages against the defendants jointly and severally for publication.
He said $1m is for a libelous publication, while the sum of $100,000 is for the cost of action of the prosecution of the suit No: B/288/2018 and dated 13th day of November 2018.
The claimant is asking the court to compel the defendants to retract libelous words and other defamatory statements published against him.
He wants the retraction published in 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 June 2018, the claimant 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 either JIL and JIMEL.
“Surprisingly, after two years, the claimant was sent a libelous email informing him of the suspension of his publication and the email was published to a third party in Nigeria,” he said.
He said they​ action of the defendants has caused him “severe physical and psychological pains and has lowered his image and self-esteem in the society.”
Counsel to the defendants, Mr. R. A. Oluyede, in his objection filed on October 15, 2019, had challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case.
Delivering his ruling on the preliminary objection on Wednesday, Justice Anthony Erhabor, said the court has 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.


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