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PUL Injunction Case: Out-of-Court Settlement An Option

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It is all clear that the court injunction file against the Press Union of Liberia by two of its members will now go into full adjudication after the Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia handed down its ruling on Monday, November 18, 2013 in favor of the complainants. Lawyers of the Press Union of Liberia, on Monday, November 11, 2013, filed a motion for the dismissal of the injunction by complainants J. Cholo Brooks and W. Omecee Johnson because they did not have legal grounds for such. The PUL Legal Counsel prayed the court to deny the injunction, owing to the fact that the two were not qualified, as candidates in keeping with the Union’s Constitution, to pursue such legal action against their disqualification by the Union’s election Commission.

However, Civil Law Court Judge J. Boima Kontoe, in his ruling on Monday, denied the motion to dismiss the petitioners’ injunction because the Press Union of Liberia could not produce any evidence to justify the disqualification of its members-J. Cholo Brooks and W. Omecee Johnson from participating in the elections scheduled to have taken place on Saturday, November 9, 2013 at the Fair Grounds in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, but were halted by the injunction.

In view of the foregoing decision by the Civil Law Court, which has for the past five years had on its docket a previous injunction by the current leadership (against the Union’s headquarters construction project), the party litigants will now go into the merits of the case. While the two PUL members-Brooks and Johnson-may be in the right to pursue such legal action and the leadership of the PUL may also follow the case to its logical conclusion, the two parties must also understand that the image of the Union is also at stake. It is neither about Brooks and Johnson exhibiting legal might nor the leadership exercising supremacy, but the unity and image of the PUL not only in the eyes of the Liberian public, but also international partners.

Even though the court proceedings may be health for the Union’s democratic growth and development, it is most often also expedient and unifying for the exhibition of high leadership qualities in matters characterized by lawsuits, including the current injunction and that of the PUL headquarters construction project.

In as much as opinions among members of the PUL, regarding full hearing into the injunction case by Brooks and Johnson against the PULL leadership may be divided for varying reasons, an OUT-OF-COURT settlement would definitely save the image of the Union and keep it together. In achieving this, the need for the intervention of media elders or veterans, as well as past leaders of the Union in finding a common ground cannot be over-emphasized. Such intervention must be characterized by the highest degree of sincerity and give-and-take approaches for a win-win conclusion.

Even though the Legal Counsel of the  PUL on Monday took an exception to the ruling by the court, announcing to take advantage of the available legal remedy, taking the “matter back home” would be in the best interest of the general membership of the union to avoid further embarrassment.

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