Rep. Snowe Sues Deputy Min. Fahngon for US$1.5M Damages

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Flashback: Mr. Fahngon in handcuffs at the Legislature.

-Fahngon also sues the leadership of the Legislature for US$2.5M damages

Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe of Bomi County District #1 and Deputy Information Minister for Press and Public Affairs, Eugene Lamin Fahngon, have filed separate damages lawsuit in the total amount of US$4 million before the same Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice.

The Snowe lawsuit against Fahngon is seeking US$500,000 as compensatory damages, US$500,000 for punitive damages and US$500,000 as pecuniary damages.

And Fahngon’s lawsuit against the leadership of the Lower House seeks US$2,500,000 in both punitive and general damages.

For Snowe, Fahngon, with malice and intent to tarnish his reputation, stationed a live video on social media [Facebook] and began ranting at him. With such intent, Fahngon made several accusations of criminal behavior against him (Snowe), to include obstruction of justice and assault of police officer.

“Describing me as ex-combatant for the rebel faction of former President Charles Taylor, a murderer who killed people in Liberia during the civil war, was tantamount to lawsuit,”  Snowe quoted Fahngon.

Snowe also claimed that the live video carried on Fahngon’s Facebook page was viewed by millions of people in and out of the country.

“It was viewed by over 102,000 times and shared by more than 2,000 persons in and out of the country,” the Snowe suit claimed.

In the case of Fahngon, the decision by members of the House to detain him was a display of naked abuse of power that underestimated legislative functions and duties of the first branch of government.

“The damage I suffered at the hands of people who called themselves representatives of the people is irreparable and unjustifiable to me and my family by creating mental anguish, psychological torture, humiliation, embarrassment and inconvenience,” Fahngon claimed in his lawsuit.

The case grew on September 7 at about 10:30 p.m. when Snowe claimed that he received a text message from a staff of the Legislature, who he identified as Kelvin D.J. Matilda, informing the legislator that he (Kelvin) had been arrested on orders of Fahngon.

Fahngon’s decision to have the man arrested grew out of claims that Matilda took his (Fahngon’s) photo at an entertainment center, and he had responded by confiscating Matilda’s phone in the aftermath.

Fahngon later reported the matter to Zone-5 Police Depot in Congo Town, Monrovia, where police officers there immediately arrested Matilda.

In the aftermath of his arrest, Matilda texted Snowe, asking him to facilitate his release.

According to Snowe, shortly afterward, he went to the police station to inquire and sign for the legislative staff.

While there to release Matilda, Snowe claimed that his request was denied by the assigned police officers on grounds that Fahngon had instructed them not to release Matilda.

“Based on that information provided by the police, I called Fahngon and asked him to kindly return to the police station with Matilda’s phone and release him from custody,” the lawsuit further alleged.

Since the police were acting on Fahngon’s order at that point, “Fahngon began raining insults at me, barring me from calling him about Matilda’s phone, because it was in the possession of the National Security Agency (NSA), and that he would come back to the police station to ensure that the police do not release the staff.”

Snowe further explained that within few minutes, Fahngon arrived at the station with several persons and began aggravating the situation by continuously insulting him.

Authors

7 COMMENTS

  1. Certainly Charles. I’m dumbfounded by both lawsuits, and both of which would be thrown out had this been the U.S.

    First, is the Fahngon suit. He’s actually suing the House of Representatives rather than individual members, unless I’m reading the article incorrectly. My response and advice to him is this which I posted on Facebook on a related story:

    ‘The King can do no wrong’ is a doctrine that you can not sue the national government or branch of government under common-law practice known as sovereign immunity. You can sue individual members of the Legislature while in office, and that’s what he should have done. The Court should render summary judgment on the ground of sovereign immunity. Then he can file a new motion with the court against individual members.

    The second is Snowe’s suit against Fahngon. Snowe’s engagement with Fahngon was deliberate. He and Fahngon were both engaged in an adversarial conversation, though Fahngon’s speaking style is assertive and Snowe was reserved. He claimed during the House hearings against Fahngon that the altercation against him was against the House and the House ruled and took actions against Fahngon. He can’t relitigate the same matter by changing his plaintiff status from that of the House to claim now it was against him individually. He’s also seeking pecuniary damages. Pecuniary under the law has to do with money and the the pecuniary loss are quantified.And where pecuniary damages is the issue, it is the actual pecuniary loss that determines the judgement of the amount. Did he actually lose $1 million, which would be the total of the compensatory and pecuniary losses. The punitive damage is more of punishing Fahngon, but again, isn’t that what he took to the House of Representatives, for which Fahngon was jailed? That makes his petition moot and the court should render summary judgment as such against him.

    • Strange how Representative Snowe wants to make money out of a case that the very institution (The HOR) he’s a member of has already ruled on. I would think with the ‘immunity’ lawmakers already enjoy in large measure, Representative Snowe would know better to allow this case to go to rest. Now it seems he wants to assert his power by wrongly applying the law to inflict more punishment on Mr. Fahngon, whose equally misapplying the law to save his face or supposedly restore his dignity. Thanks for sharing this astute legal perspective on this case!

  2. Hon Snowe, this is the path you should have taken. Instead, you took the Minister to the House of Representative. You and your comrades became the Judicial branch. You and the rest of the House members tried this Minister and sentence him to Jail for several days. Now you want to file a lawsuit? Please be advised that YOU AND THE REST IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE HAVE DISRESPECTED THE JUDICIAL BRANCH. I hope your case is thrown out. THAT’S DOUBLE JEOPARDY. YOU CANNOT PUNISH THE MINISTER FOR THE SAME CRIME TWICE. You guys in the House of Representative have denied this Minister the right to due process. The Constitution doesn’t give the Legislative branch that power.

  3. Does anyone else find it ironic that while Liberia crumbles and the masses grumble, that those in leadership positions conduct themselves as petty school yard children? Settle this kind of thing like men- with a handshake. While you are fighting like children, your people live on the streets, eat like meager paupers and suffer the fear and pain of what’s to come next. I can hear the rumblings of the war drums from far away.
    Grow up.

  4. First of all, the Bible says he who keepeth his mouth keepeth his soul. The action on the part of the Deputy minister to have been so vulgar and insultive to an Honorqble is very wrong. His action speaks volume of who he is. As a public figure it is your bounding duty to allow decency and respect for the rule of law, to be your guide.
    Honorqble Snowe’s action by taking Fahngon to the House was the most honorable thing to do. That was appropriate and the best solution to such an arrogant and cantankerous person.
    Albeit , the following it is also appropriate for Fahngon to be held accountable for his action in order to serve as a deterrent for other would be disrespectful officials or public servants.
    Snowe and Fahngon had
    Missed the boat and sinking with their actions by taking the matter to court. Snowe, is trying to say he does not have trust in his fellow Lawmakers, or probably feel that the case does not have merit. On the other hand Fahngon is displaying and continuing the same attitude of pomposity and Bigotry and disrespect to that honorable body. Those legal actions do not have any legal holdings.
    People especially those of public trust need to be very civilized and avoid bein Savages.

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