A Lagos-based writer, Mrs Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu, has dragged a foreign publishing firm, Melrose, to an Ogun State High Court sitting in Ota over the firm’s alleged failure to publish her manuscript submitted to it since 2012.

The claimant, through a law firm, Oluyinka Olujimi & Associates, is asking the court to award N45m damages against Melrose for failing to publish, return, or compensate her as contained in an agreement between them.
The agreement stated among others that “should the publisher be unable to publish the work which is the subject of this agreement due to any unforeseen reasons, the parties to this agreement shall agree on an amount to be paid to the author as compensation for the labour expended.”

In an originating summons, filed by her counsel, Olaoye-Osinkolu informed the court that the company had since 2012 held on to her intellectual work, in flagrant breach of the contract.
She told the court that sometime in 2012, the company published an advertorial in a national newspaper, inviting people with educational children stories to submit them for consideration and eventual publication.

The claimant said she forwarded her story which the defendant reportedly considered good and that she was subsequently invited by the firm for negotiation and signing of a contract.
She said despite repeated demands for the return of her intellectual work, Melrose had neither published the work nor compensated her.

The writer expressed fear that the work might have been published in another country under a fictitious name and title.

Olaoye-Osinkolu, therefore, sought reliefs from the court to declare that the defendant’s failure to either publish or return her manuscript or pay her compensation was wrongful and constituted a breach of agreement between both parties.
The summons also demanded “a sum of N25m as damages against the defendant for the loss suffered by the claimant on the account of not publishing/returning/compensating the claimant as contained in the agreement; a sum of N20m as compensation for the loss of another contract suffered by the claimant on account of the agreement binding the defendant to the claimant; interest at the rate of 10 per cent per annum from the date of judgment until judgment is satisfied as provided in the rules of court.”
But the company in a preliminary objection filed through a law chambers, Enitan Associates, said the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

The firm argued that the suit was brought as an originating summons and not a writ of summons.
An originating summon is a means of initiating a civil action tabled for determination by a statute while a writ is a formal document addressed to a defendant requiring them to enter an appearance if they want to dispute the claimant’s claims.
The matter was adjourned to April 9, 2019 for further hearing.
Source: Punch News.

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