A Nigerian businessman, Ebosie Jideofor John has floored the UAE airline, Etihad Airways in court after he won a lawsuit over the maltreatment of his person and his family.
Justice Hadiza R. Shagari of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division ruled in favour of Ebosie and found the airline guilty of willful misconduct.
Ebosie alongside four others had sued Etihad Airways for trauma, losses, and damages after they were denied travelling with the airline in May 2014 due to no fault of theirs.
It was gathered that Ebosie had purchased four economy class tickets for his family members namely Ms Sylvia U Obichie, Amaka Fingesi, Taribo Fingesi and Zoila Fingesi for a trip from Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos to Abu Dhabi International Airport on May 15, 2014, on flight EY 0674.
He bought the four e-tickets using his credit card.
But due to no fault of Ebosie, his credit card could not be verified by the airline at its Victoria Island, Lagos office due to network failure and he made available coloured photocopy of his credit card and his driver’s license to ensure his family members were able to make the trip but they were denied boarding by staff of the airline but told to return the following day, May 16, 2014.
The plaintiffs eventually boarded the plane on the new date given but were yet unable to make the flight as it was cancelled due to engine failure.
They later settled for buying another tickets and boarded another airline to make their planned holiday on that same day of May 16, 2014.
The plaintiffs later went on to sue Etihad Airways for trauma, losses, and damages since it is the general rule that a carrier or an airline liabilities to its passengers or customers could arise as a result of: (a) Injury sustained on board an aircraft; (b) Death arising from the case of a journey; (c) Damage or loss of goods; (d) Delayed or denied board; and (e) Infractions in the case of preparing for or the actual conduct of flight operation under the aviation law.
And since if a passenger buys an air ticket, there is a contract binding between the customer and the airline, the case went in favour of Ebosie.
In her judgment, Justice Hadiza R Shagari ruled in favour of the plaintiffs and charged Etihad Airline.
“It is in my view to state that the defendant airline is guilty of willful misconduct….. I grant the claims of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th plaintiffs for a full refund of their defendant airline tickets with interest at 16 per cent rate as it was decided in the case of Farasco Nigeria Limited & Anor Vs Peterson Zochionis Industries Plc (2010) LPELR 4142 CA. Per Tine Tur JCA stated that the principle of interest is that it’s not a compensation for damages caused by the defendants but for being kept out of money which ought to have been paid all this while for services not rendered.
In the case, Ebosie and his family members were represented by Pius E Sodjie and Pekun Sowole of Jurislaw Chambers while the defendant, Etihad Airways, was represented by J.M.M Majiyagbe.