-Judge Dunbar of Civil Law Court ruling
Arguments by Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor (petitioner) that her suspension of a core of elected officials at the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) including its president, Madam Alice Yeabahn (respondents), was justified because the matter was a political decision which should not be reviewed by any court, yesterday suffered a major defeat at the Civil Law Court ‘B’ at the Temple of Justice.
In his ruling, Judge Scheaplor Dunbar declared that the petitioner’s lawyers failed to convince his court that the officials duly elected, who were aggrieved by her action suspending them from their various positions do not have the legal capacity to seek redress before him.
“The respondents indeed have the legal capacity to file the petition for Judicial Review because they are the ones who were suspended from their various positions by the Vice President,” Dunbar declared in justification of his decision.
“They are directly affected by the action of VP Taylor. This Court, therefore, does not agree with the petitioner’s contention that respondents lack legal capacity to institute these proceedings,” he said.
Prior to Judge Dunbar’s decision, Vice President Taylor had argued that the Court should dismiss a lawsuit for Judicial Review by the suspended officials seeking its endorsement to reverse the Vice President’s decision in suspending them from their various positions.
VP Taylor also argued that her dismissals should stand because the Court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the case and that the respondents also do not have the capacity to sue her there.
Taylor’s legal team also argued that before filing the lawsuit, the suspended officials should have exhausted all of the internal dispute resolution mechanisms available to them in the association but, there was no evidence that they ever exhausted any administrative remedies within the LMA.
Further to his judgment, Dunbar said he disagreed with VP Taylor that the suspended officials should have exhausted all administrative remedies available to them within the bylaws and constitution of the LMA before filing for judicial review of her action.
“Vice President Taylor has not established any valid legal ground(s) under Section 11.2 (1) to warrant the dismissals of the suspended offices’ petition. Taylor’s motion for dismissal of the petition for Judicial Review is denied and dismissed and the respondents’ resistance is sustained. The main and suit pending for judicial review are ordered proceeded with in keeping with the law,” he stated.
It may be recalled that Madam Yeabahn and her suspended officials filed a 14-Count Petition for Judicial Review before the Court praying it to review and reverse the action of Vice President Taylor in suspending them from their positions within the LMA and subsequently setting-up of an interim leadership team to run the affairs of the association.