N50m suit against Ethiopian Airlines gets Nov 2 date

A Federal High Court in Abuja has adjourned till November 2, 2021 the continuation of trial in the N50 million suit filed against Ethiopian Airlines over lost of luggage with items worth $13, 550.

In the suit numbered, FHC ABJ/CS/1445/2018, the plaintiffs, Abdulwahab Malumfashi, Suleiman Lawal, Umar Lawal and Kofarsauri, through their counsel, Peter Okwoli are praying the court to declare that Ethiopian Airlines breached the contract it had with them, having failed to release their luggage entrusted in the care of the Airline on June 25, 2017.

They also want the court to declare that the Airlines is in breach of the duty of care it owes them when it failed to exercise the requisite standard of care required of a carrier that led to the loss of the luggage under their care.

The plaintiffs are also praying the court to award the sum of N50 million as exemplary damages against the Ethiopian Airlines for the inconveniences they suffered and denial of the use of items occasioned by the Airlines’ action and commission.

In a statement of claim filed by the plaintiffs, they averred that, on June 25, 2017, they jointly boarded the defendant’s aircraft from King Abdulazeez International Airport, Jeddah to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at the end of the 2017 Unlnrah Ramadan season.

That their luggage were checked-in by the Airlines and tags were dully issued them after staff of the Airlines confirmed the content and that upon arrival, it was discovered that some of their luggage could not be found at the luggage discharge belt.

They further averred that the incident was reported to the Airlines and they were made to fill a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) form, after which they jointly made several visits and calls to the Airlines with respect to the collection of their luggage, all to no avail.

The plaintiffs told the court that their missing luggage contained gifts and personal items purchased in and because the Airlines could not provide the luggage, they could not give them out or make use of the personal items contained in the luggage.

The Airlines, in their statement of defence filed through their counsel, Ayiko Blessing Gurka said the plaintiffs did not, at any time declare the content of their luggage or value of the content to the defendant of her officers.

“The assertion that a servant of the defendant confirmed their content is not only erroneous but also a fallacy as what happens usually at check-ins does not amount to declaration of the content and payment of any sum for insurance and does not amount to confirmation of the content”, the Airlines told the court.

They held that the Airlines handle passengers’ luggage with utmost care and deligence and added that plaintiffs’ claims are not in accordance with the laws governing international transportation by Air.

At the resumed hearing on the matter on Monday, the plaintiffs opened their case with the evidence by the first plaintiff, Abdulwahab Malumfashi, who told the court that the Airlines has failed, refused or neglected to produce any luggage or give any explanation or response to his enquiries and correspondences as to his luggage.

The, trial Judge, Justice Donatus Okorowo has since adjourned the matter till November 2, 2021 for continuation of trial after taking the evidence of the first plaintiff.