Liberia: CHICO Company Dragged to Court Over U.S.$500k Action of Damages for Wrongful Death

Monrovia — China Henan International Cooperation Group, through its General Manager, Site Manager, and Project Manager to include other authorized Officers acting under their control of Oldest Congo Town, Montserrado, has been dragged at the Civil Law Court “A” for “Action of Damages for wrongful death by the Intestate Estate of the late Abraham Jalloh, through its Administrator, Edith Johnson of the city of Paynesville.

China Henan International Cooperation Group (commonly known as CHICO) is a Chinese state-owned construction and engineering company held by the provincial government of HENAN.

CHICO company began working in Liberia in 2008. It is one of the major construction companies in Liberia, having worked as a project contractor on several large road projects.

Defendant Johnson, whose court document noted that she is the wife of the late Jalloh, through traditional marriage, is requesting Judge J. Kennedy Peabody to rule and adjudged CHICO Company, liable to her for its failure to exercise due and reasonable care for her late husband, that led to his death.

She is requesting an award through the trial jury, an amount not less than US500,00 (Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars), as general damages for the wrongful death of her late husband, Abraham Jalloh, which has caused her to suffer mental pain, distress, inconveniences, and psychological effect as a result of the company’s action.

Besides, Madam Johnson wants the court or rule all costs against CHICO Company in the proceeding and further grant unto her any other relief and rights as shall be deemed just, and equitable with law and justice in the premise.

According to a Court document in the possession of FrontPageAfrica, the complainant, who said she was legally married to the victim since January 1, 2008, noted that her late husband died on February 20, 2019, at the Referral Hospital in Fish Town, River Gee County, as of a result of an injury sustained, while on the job for CHICO Company.

According to her, CHICO Company owed her late husband a duty of care while he was employed by the company, but the company allegedly failed to provide a duty of care to the late Abraham Jalloh under the facts and circumstances.

Madam Johnson in the document noted that as a result of the company’s failure to exercise due and responsible care for her late husband led to his demise, which constitutes negligence of duty of responsible care for him.

She noted that her late husband was assigned to the crane operator, Mr. Li Juqui, an employee of CHICO Company who operated said crane owned by CHICO and was responsible to dismantle the old steel bridge during the reconstruction and pavement of the main highway of River Gee County.

Madam Johnson is quoted in the court document as saying, her late husband, “was never provided safety protection or head helmet on the job by CHICO Company to avoid unexpected casualty while on duty.”

She further explained that during the process of dismantling the old steel bridge with the removal of pieces from the said bridge and having the same relocated to a place 20 meters away from the said bridge, the late Jalloh was instructed by his boss, Mr. Li Juqui to stand beside the crane operator’s cabin and direct the lifting of the truss on the crane from the old disjointed bridge with pieces of old steels to ensure that everything is Ok before the truss is lifted.

The complainant noted that there were pieces of steel rod 30cm long that was placed underneath the old steel bridge and that some workers weren’t there to fix the hook and create space while at the same time responsible to loosen and remove the bolts from the said old bridge which the workers were successful in doing to remove the first two sections of the steel bridge.

Regardless, she sobbed that while the workers applied the same method to the final section of the old steel bridge, Mr. Li Juqui, the Operator of the crane, lifted the final section of the dismantled steel bridge from the ground and while in that process of lifting said section of the old steel bridge with the truss of the crane, a piece of the steel jumped from the ground and flew into the air and unexpectedly landed directly where the late Abraham Jalloh was standing and the piece of steel hit on the right side of his face resulting in a serious cut.

Madam Johnson narrated that her late husband fell to the ground in pain and he began to scream occasioned by the said deep cut or wound on his right eyebrow and right jaw that caused him to bleed profusely.

She said the deceased was not provided with any safety protection and helmet to use on his face and head or other parts of his body as practiced in the industry which would have stopped flying objects that would cause accidents.

At the same time, she stated in the document that he was immediately rushed to the Fish Town Referral Hospital, on February 10, 2019, at 14oo hours, which was confirmed by the Medical Officer of the Hospital, Dr. Aker Jason Bleah, but accordingly, caused him to bleed profusely and was stabilized, but later died at 17:39 hours of the same day.

However, according to her, the Police Investigators manage to interview the Crane Operator and three other eyewitnesses who were on the scene of the accident, and consistent with the accident report, the late Jalloh was the victim of the accident which caused his death and was buried the next day based on burial arrangements.

Madam Johnson also clarified that CHICO Company, through its insurance company contributed to the burial ceremony of her late husband with an amount of $4,500 US (Four Thousand Five Hundred USD) in the tone of 198,000 LD (One Hundred and Ninety-Eight Thousands LD), indicating a balance sum of US$3,500 (Three Thousand Five Hundred USD) which was not settled despite several efforts allied.

Therefore, she said the death of her husband can be measured in terms of damages caused by the conduct of CHICO due to its failure to exercise due and responsible care for the life of her late husband and is liable for the wrongful death of the late Jalloh, adding that the doctrine of respondeat superior will work in favor of her, in that the crane operator was performing his duty for his principal, CHICO Company when the accident occurred.

As a result, she, as the Administratrix of her late husband’s estate, is claiming damages from Defendant on behalf of herself as a wife and the child of the deceased, based on loss of financial support, services, comfort, and companionship of her husband and loss to the child of care and parental guidance of his father.

Madam Johnson in the same way said her late husband was the only breadwinner form the family, as such, his death had served as a setback to the family, especially from the time of his death up to and including the present, which she noted has created for her, a complete financial hardship, until suffering and lot of inconveniences and burden as a single parent of a child, for the fact that the child is no more in school due to lack of financial support.

As such, she is demanding US$500,00 (Five Hundred performed US Dollars) as compensatory damages for the wrongful death of her late husband, which are intended for the livelihood and sustainability of her and her child for the rest of the time they have to live on Planet Earth.

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