The failure of Judge Chan-Chan Paegar of the Commercial Court to make available a hardcopy of his five minute oral ruling on the “pop drink” infringement lawsuit that was brought against Housseni Kessell, a Lebanese businessman, has caused Paegar serious troubles at the Supreme Court.
For this mess up, Cllr. Tiawan S. Gongloe, a lead lawyer for BAF, has laid a complaint against Judge Paegar at the Supreme Court.
The infringement case was instituted by BAF Trading Corporation, a Liberian owned entity, against Kessell, owner of HK Enterprise, the Liberia Industrial Property Office (LIPO) and the Ministry of Commence (MOC).
They were accused of allegedly facilitating Kessell to obtain a trademark certificate, which was already issued to BAF in 2010 as the sole distributor of the product “pop drink” on the local market for 20 years.
The lawsuit was intended for Judge Paegar who happens to be one of the three-judge- panel mending the court to declare BAF’s rights as legitimate and original owner of the trademark.
BAF obtained the trademark certificate from both LIPO and MOC, the lawsuit claimed.
But BAF’s request was denied by Judge Paegar when he orally announced a ruling into the matter on August 5 of which a written copy remains a mystery.
When he ruled orally, Paegar publicly informed the parties (BAF, HK Enterprise, LIPO and MOC) that he was not prepared to give them the hardcopy of the decision, because, according to him, it would be attached to his final judgment which would been written and presented to the parties through their respective legal counsels on August 8 three days after his decision.
Although, Paegar’s ruling still under appeal, he has authorized the Lebanese businessman to continue with the importation of the pop drink on the market for which the ministry has issued him an Import Declaration Permit (IDP).
That Judgment was seriously contested by Cllr. Gongloe, who is the lead lawyer for BAF and subsequently appeal to the Supreme Court.
Judge Paegar up to present is yet to make available the written final judgment, which failure prompted Cllr. Gongloe to complain to the Supreme Court.
In a complaint for a “Writ of Mandamus,” Gongloe argued that “after his oral ruling, Judge Paegar has refused, failed and neglected to produce to us his written final judgment that would provide the required opportunity and enable us to file our Bill of Exception and to file other legal requirements under the law.”
Mandamus is a writ which orders a public agency or governmental body to perform an act required by law when it has neglected or refused to do so.
The document named appeal bond and notice of completion of appeal as some of the requirements Cllr. Gongloe was finding it difficult to file to the Supreme Court, without the written final judgment.
Further to his complaint, Gongloe alleged that he had written Judge Paegar informing him about the delay he had caused their case by refusing to produce his written version containing his final judgment which, according to Gongloe, was making it impossible for him to file the Bill of Exception and undertake the other necessary legal steps to complete the appeal process.
“”A copy of the said self-explanatory letter was served on the two other judges, one of them Chief Judge Eva Mappy Morgan,” the Gongloe said in his complaint.
“The refusal of Judge Paegar to produce his written ruling and judgment, up and including the time of filling of this complaint, has been impossible and impracticable for me to file the Bill of Exception and to perform all the other necessary duties to complete the appeal process, which is tantamount to my client being denied his right to an appeal in this particular case,” Gongloe said.