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Emirates appeals $1.36m, N50m suit

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United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) national carrier, Emirates, has filed an appeal seeking to upend a Federal High Court judgment that awarded $1.36 million and N50 million against the carrier.

The airline, in a statement, said they had already filed an appeal and would “vigorously” defend their position on the matter. Emirates was recently ordered to pay $1.36 million to a businessman, Orji Prince Ikem, being the amount contained in his hand luggage that went missing in the airline’s custody during his trip to China in 2007.

Justice Muslim Hassan of a Federal High Court handed down the judgment in the businessman’s nearly 12-year legal battle with the airline to recover his two hand luggage containing personal effects and $700,000, as well as $930,000 in 18 bundles of $50,000 wraps each and $30,000 cash not wrapped.

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The judge also ordered the carrier to pay N50 million as damages to Ikem for the “untold hardship and loss of earning” he suffered by the deprivation of use of his money from 2007 till date.

Justice Hassan in his ruling on the plaintiff’s prayers for the return of his $1.36 million and N100 million as general damages, observed that the airline, through its lawyer, Prof. Awah Kalu (SAN), failed to refute Ikem’s claims.

The judge held: “I have read all the processes filed by both parties as well as their agreements and resolved that the only issue for determination is whether the plaintiff is entitled to the reliefs sought before this court.

“A claim not controverted is deemed admitted. In this case, the defendants did not call a witness but rather rested its case on that of the plaintiff, which means that what the entire plaintiff claimed and their pleadings are admitted.

“I hold that Emirate Airlines failed in his obligations to customers by not delivering the luggage containing the sum of $1.36 million.“On the whole, I hereby make the following orders; an order that Emirates Airlines pay the plaintiff the sum of $1.36 million. “An order that the defendant pays the sum of N50 million to the defendant as damages. Parties shall bear their own respective costs.”

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