…Says accused’s counterclaims contain deficiencies
By Uthman Salami
A District Court in U.S. at Eastern District of Pennsylvania, on January 5, struck out Jackson Ude, publisher of Pointblanknews.com’s, motion seeking to dismiss the case of defamation against Simbi Kesiye Wabote.
The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) had been accused of bribery and corruption by the online publication.
This is the second time the court would be dismissing Ude’s case and granting that of NCDMB boss.
In its ruling the court dismissed “Ude’s motion in its entirety,” viewing it as “in conclusory, boilerplate type language: insufficient process; insufficient service of process; and failure to join a party under Rule 19. Ude’s Motion does not mention these defenses again. Nor are these defenses mentioned in Ude’s Reply.”
As a result, the court finds these defenses to be “[t]hrow-away arguments left undeveloped [and they] are also considered waived.”
The latest dismissal of Ude’s case was contained in a two-paged paged document by Joseph F. Leeson, Jr., United States District judge, in the case which listed Ude as the defendant with Wabote as the plaintiff.
Contrary to Ude’s claim, Judge Leeson Jr. ruled that the “Court has subject matter jurisdiction over Wabote’s claim and also has personal jurisdiction over Ude.”
In addition, the judge rule that the venue is proper against Ude’s claim who wanted the case to be in Nigeria, adding that “Forum non conveniens does not warrant dismissal.”
According to Realnews, Judge Leeson, Jr. struck out Ude’s case on “5th day of January 2022… after considering the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss defendant’s amended counterclaims and affirmative defenses in the action, and the defendant’s response,” based on the reasons given in the Court’s October 21, 2021, opinion in the case.
The court dismissed “Ude’s counterclaims without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
According to the judge, Ude’s “amended counterclaims are little more than a copy and paste of his dismissed counterclaims. Defendant simply dresses the amended counterclaims with the necessary elements, but “a formulaic recitation of a cause of action’s elements will not do,” citing the case of Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 540, 545 (2007).”
The judge stated that “at their core, Ude’s amended counterclaims still suffer from the same deficiencies as his original counterclaims. For that reason, there is no need to further analyze the amended counterclaims with another lengthy opinion; the Court hereby incorporates its October 21, 2021, Opinion as its reasoning for dismissing Defendant’s amended counterclaims.”
Also, the “Court dismisses Defendant’s amended counterclaims with prejudice because he had an opportunity to cure his counterclaims’ deficiencies but did not. Any additional amendments would therefore be futile. See Boyd v. New Jersey Dept. of Corrections, 583 Fed. Appx. 30, 32 (3d Cir. 2014).”
The Court had struck out several of defendant’s affirmative defenses.
“Even though the Court did not grant Defendant leave to amend his stricken affirmative defenses, he relisted them in his Amended Counterclaims and Affirmative Defenses.
“Since the affirmative defenses listed in the Amended, the court granted Wabote’s motion to dismiss Ude’s motion. It also dismissed Ude’s counterclaims with prejudice and also stated that his amended affirmative defenses are stricken as outlined in the Court’s October 21, 2021, Opinion.”
The court had earlier dismissed Ude’s case for the first time, threatening to commit him to contempt of court.
Judge Lesson Jr. also relied on the court opinion of October 21, 2021, to dismiss Ude’s case a second time, there by granting the relief sought by Wabote.