A truck owner, Alhaji Kantara Malian Kamara of the city of Monrovia has prayed the Sixth Judicial Civil Law Court of Montserrado County to hold liable the 2nd Defendant, APM Terminal in the Cause of Action case for the damage of his vehicle at the Free Port of Monrovia. Alhaji Malian also prayed the Civil Law Court to deny counts one through eight. Plaintiff contends that the 2” Defendant is liable to Plaintiff in view of the fact that it was said 2” Defendant who appointed 3rd Defendant as Stevedores on board the MJv MAN QIANG and thru whose gross negligence Plaintiffs truck was wrecked.
Alhaji Malian further contended that Defendant must be held responsible for any and all damages to him under the doctrine of respondeat superior which is consistent with section 1 .7d which provides that “APMT shall be liable to a port user for any loss or damage to any vessel where such loss of damage was caused by the gross negligence or willful default of APMT, its agents, servants or sub-contractors.
The Damages claimed by Plaintiff Malian include, special damages in the amounts of US$47,790.00 representing cost of repairing Plaintiff’s truck in the amount of US.$8,000.00 and US$39,790.00 being loss of income up to and including May 8, 2012 as per attached schedule marked Exhibit P/10 to form a cogent part of this Complaint and which loss of income shall continue to increase daily as long as Respondent fails to restore Plaintiff.
General damages in the amount of US$150,000.00; and punitive damages in the amount of US$350,000.00 for Defendant’s wrongful conduct. Plaintiff also says that damages would lie in view of Defendant’s negligence in overloading the crane of the said vessel and wrongful conduct in refusing to make Plaintiff whole after damaging Plaintiff’s truck and causing him to lose income during the period his truck has been damaged, punitive damages for the wicked, reckless, irresponsible and careless conduct.
Plaintiff Malian also prayed the court to grant his complaint and hold Defendants liable for special damages in the amount of US$47,790.00; General Damages in the amount of US$150,000.00; and punitive damages in the amount of US$350,000.00 and grant unto him (Plaintiff) any and all other relief the law affords and that the Defendants be ruled to pay all costs and expenses in this case.
Alhaji Malian in a Writ of Summons a copy of which was obtained by this paper submitted to the court that he owns thru legal purchase a 1990 model SCANIA Truck bearing license plate nr BT-51 which was contracted to transport bagged cement in sling discharged from M/v HAN QIANG, a vessel which berthed at the Free-Port of Monrovia on the 7th day of November, 2011.
He told the court that the 2” Defendant, the Terminal Operator of the Free-Port of Monrovia, appointed 3rd Defendant to perform stevedoring activities on board the MJv JIAN QIANG during the port call subject of this suit and which vessel was laden with a cargo of bagged cement in slings imported by 1st Defendant.
He also contended that on the 17th day of November 2011, his truck’s cabin and engine were crushed when the vessel’s crane when the shackle-attached to the lifting rig bent thereby causing the sling to fall off the lifting rig and hence, causing serious damage to the cabin of the truck and the truck’s engine.
He further told the court that the 2nd Defendant issued an Accident Incident Report attributing to the incident to overweight.
The Plaintiff added that this admission on the part of the terminal operator, 2nd Respondent herein, clearly shows that the incident was caused by “negligently overloading the crane thereby causing the shackle to break” and which act is attributed to all three Defendants that include, firstly, on the part of 2nd Defendant, it breached their duty to ensure that the discharge operation was done in a safe manner.
Secondly according to Alhaji Malian 3rd Respondent discharged said vessel in an unsafe manner by overloading the crane which is the direct cause of the accident. Plaintiff said that on December 12, 2011, the Port Truckers’ Association Inc., an association of which he is a member sent a self-explanatory letter to 1st Defendant with copy to the Port Manager of the National Port Authority bringing to first Defendant’s attention, the incident involving the damage to Plaintiff’s truck but the letter was totally ignored even though said letter also reminded 1st Respondent of its contractual obligation to Plaintiff in the amount of US$420.00/day.
Malian noted that Mutual Benefit Assurance Company (MBA) sent a letter to him offering an amount of US$6,112.00 as total loss for his vehicle which is even less than the repair cost of his vehicle damaged by the reckless handling of the servant of 2nd Defendant and which amount does not take into consideration the loss of income by Plaintiff as a result of this incident. Plaintiff Malian said he refused the offer as same was insulting, to say the least.
Among other things, Alhaji Malian submitted that on the 10th of February, he sent a self- explanatory letter to the herein named Defendants but, to date, no response has been received.