US$2.5m Suit against Baptist Seminary Dismissed

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On Thursday, May 12, Judge Peter W. Gbeneweleh of the Civil Law Court ‘A’ rendered a final judgment dismissing a US$2.5 million suit filed by Dr. Lincoln Brownell against the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary.

The suit was dismissed on a motion filed by lawyers representing the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary wherein the motion to dismiss the suit was granted and the suit was subsequently dismissed for being time barred by statute.

Dr. Brownell had earlier served as president of the seminary. His services were terminated by the then Board of Trustees.

The Seminary and the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention paid a default judgment in the National Labor court for US$240, 000.

In early March, 2016, the Baptist institutions were able to honor the full judgment of the National Labor Court for unfair labor practice regarding Dr. Brownel’s dismissal.

Upon the final payment of the earlier case, Dr. Brownell filed a new suit on March 16, 2016. In this suit, he claimed US$2.5 million for damages to his reputation and/or injury to his person.

The Baptist compact normally does not have funds to fight legal matters, and as a result of the financial constraints the institution is facing, Counselors Emmanuel B James and Rosemarie B. James of the International Group of legal advocates and Consultants decided to handle the matter on a pro-bono basis for the Institution.

They responded to the suit based on the facts and the law. On another note, they also filed a motion to dismiss the entire suit as filed by Dr. Brownell on the grounds that said suit was timed and barred by statute.

Lawyers representing Dr. Brownell filed a resistance to the motion. Hence the motion to dismiss was granted and the resistance thereto was denied, thereby dismissing Dr. Brownell’s suit.

Judge Gbeneweleh in his final ruling indicated that the statute of limitation had expired for initiating the claim. Secondly, he outlined in the facts among other things that Dr. Brownell was the party that gave interviews on the various issues brought forth.

Consequently, the Seminary did not damage the character of Dr. Brownell.

The Counsel for Dr. Brownell took exception to the final ruling and announced an appeal to the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia, and the appeal was granted by the Judge as a matter of law.

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