Court declines Davido’s application for stay in breach of contract suit

A Delta State High Court sitting in Effurun, has declined the application by Nigerian-American singer, David Adedeji Adeleke, popularly known as Davido, for a stay of proceedings in the N2 billion suit against him by Brownhill Investment Company Limited over the annual ‘Warri Again Concert’

The claimant, in the suit is praying the court to award N2billion as general damages against Davido.

Besides, the claimant is praying the court for N150 million as legal and professional fees, and additional sum N30million as cost of filing the suit.

Defendants in the suit are David Adeleke a.k.a “Davido,” and his music label, Davido Music Worldwide Limited.

At the hearing in the matter, Davido counsel, Mr. Norrison Quakers, SAN, informed the court that there was a pending appeal and that the defendants have filed a motion for stay of proceedings.

Quakers further told the court that the defendants have been served with a copy of the claimant’s counter affidavit to the said motion for stay.

However, he applied to withdraw the motion, and submitted that the Court of Appeal has become seized with authority over the proceedings pending before the lower court.

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Claimant counsel, Kelechi Onwuegbuchulem, did not oppose the application to withdraw the motion and the court granted same according.

Onwuegbuchulem, however, notified the court of a pending motion for extension of time to regularise the claimant’s reply to the statement of defence and sought to move same.

Opposing the application, Quakers submitted that the lower court cannot take further steps in the matter since an appeal has been validly entered.

Onwuegbuchulem, however, urged the court to refuse the application for stay of proceedings on the basis that an appeal does not operate as automatic stay of proceedings and that in the absence of any order of the Court of Appeal staying proceedings, the lower court was at liberty to proceed.

The court in a short ruling upheld the claimant’s argument and held that until an order staying further proceedings is obtained from the Court of Appeal, the High Court will continue with proceedings in the case.

The court also granted the motion on notice seeking to regularise the claimant’s reply to the statement of defence, and directed that Pre-Trial Conference, PTC, forms be filed within 14 days in line with the rules of the court.

The court adjourned the case to March 21, 2024, for pre-trial conference.

Recall that Davido had, in his Preliminary Objection challenged the jurisdiction of the court, on the grounds that the case ought not to take place in Effurun.

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He also argued that the case is a debt recovery matter and that the claimant ought to have written a letter of demand first before rushing to court.

But the court in its ruling dismissed the preliminary objection.

Meanwhile, a representative of Brownhill Group, Mr. Tuoyo Odolomerun, when asked why the case could not be amicably settled, he said: “Our terms for settlements are very clear and our team of lawyers have the mandate accordingly.”

He restated the claimant’s commitment to pursuing the matter to a logical conclusion to serve as a deterrent to others.

He added that there was need to sanitise the music industry which has given Nigeria a lot of global attention and glory by applying its extensive enforcement machinery in order to ensure that the industry follows global best practices and adds value to the practitioners as well as other stakeholders in the industry in a way that will help the economic growth of the country.

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