Lawyers representing Deputy Information Minister for Public Affairs Eugen Lamie Fahngon in a US$2.5M lawsuit yesterday, September 25, made a dramatic twist when they voluntarily requested the court to discontinue Fahngon’s legal rift with the leadership of the House of Representatives from which he had sought compensation for punitive damages.
It was not clear as to what was responsible for this sudden change of mind by Fahngon’s lawyers when they wrote the Civil Law Court ‘A’ about a plan to no longer pursue the case.
But the request came a day after Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe of Bomi County District #1 filed a US$1.5 million damages lawsuit against Fahngon for tarnishing his reputation by referring to him as a murderer.
Fahngon’s letter, a copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer, reads that, “the plaintiff, Fahngon, hereby gives notice that he is voluntarily discontinuing his action of damages for wrong against the leadership of the House of Representatives in keeping with Section 11.6 of the Civil Procedure Law.”
Therefore, the communication says, “Plaintiff prays this Honorable Court to strike from the docket the damages for wrong with prejudice.”
Shortly afterward, several lawyers (name withheld) who spoke with this newspaper expressed dismay about Fahngon’s legal team, which was headed by Cllr. Frances Johnson Allison, over their handling of the matter.
One of the lawyers said Cllr. Allison, herself a former chief justice, should not have filed any damage suit against the legislature to the Civil Law Court, something which, the lawyers believed, was wrong, “even though she realized the wrong and subsequently asked the court to discontinue the case.”
“Where does she expect the lawmakers to take the money from to pay for damages to Fahngon if the matter was to be held by the court, because the lawmakers are paid by the government?” another legal practitioner wondered.
“The necessary and legal thing for her to have done was to file the damages lawsuit against Snowe, but not the entire lawmakers,” one legal expert said, adding, “What a shame to the legal profession!”
The case grew when Fahngon prayed the court to hold the defendant (House of Representatives) liable for the disgrace, humiliation, embarrassment, mental anguish, distress and torture which he claimed the House of Representatives’ unlawful action caused him and his family. He was claiming general damages in the tone of US$2.5 million.
Fahngon’s lawsuit then claimed that the damages he suffered at the hands of “people calling themselves representatives of the people” are irreversible and immense as his wife, children and ailing mother have suffered tremendous mental anguish.
The House of Representatives recently declared Mr. Fahngon a non-governmental material and sentenced him to two nights in prison for legislative contempt.
In addition, the House’s plenary levied a fine of 4,999.99 Liberian cents on him. He was then sent to jail for proven misconduct against Rep. Snowe, following a scuffle between him and Representative Acarous Moses Gray of Montserrado County District #8.
It was based on his imprisonment that Fahngon sought a US$2.5 million lawsuit against the House of Representatives, though he has now decided to discontinue the matter.