Cornerstone Insurance Plc. has responded to a N340 million suit instituted by Mr. Ahmed Afolabi Roleola against the company and two others, Cornerstone Life Assurance and Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria.
Roleola had sued the defendants asking for N340 million for alleged unlawful use of his photographs and goodwill to promote their businesses. In its statement of defense, dated January 5, 2018, Cornerstone Insurance Company denied most of the averment contained in the plaintiff’s application.
The company filed a counter-claim demanding N1,800,000 as cost of unnecessary litigation as the plaintiff had earlier dragged them before a Lagos High Court and another sum of N5,000,000 as cost of the present action.
The insurance company said it did not at any time used Roleola’s photograph either in handbills or posters to promote or to advertise its policy tagged ”Mortgage Protection Plan” as alleged.
The defendant further denied having knowledge of the letters dated December 30, 2008 and that of January 22, 2010,
The insurance company stated that sometime in October, 2008, it engaged the services of “The Shops Limited”, a company duly incorporated under the laws of the federation as an independent contractor under a contract for services to conceptualize, design, and print among other things, a mortgage protection plan” Policy brochure.
It said that it entrusted the contract to The Shops Limited in the Shops Limited’s capacity as a professional under terms and conditions and in circumstances under which it was itself under no duty to the plaintiff and was not in breach of such a duty.
Cornerstone also stated that the second defendant Cornerstone Assurance Limited is not a juristic person, but admitted receiving the plaintiff’s solicitor’s letter dated 11 November, 2010.
It denied engaging in any unauthorized use of the plaintiff’s photographs for advertorial as alleged.
It would be recalled that Roleola instituted a N340 million legal action against Cornerstone Insurance Company Plc. and one of its subsidiaries, Cornerstone Assurance Limited for alleged unauthorized use and exploitation of his photographs and goodwill in their promotional advertisements.
Roleola alleged that the defendants used the unauthorized photographs and goodwill in the form of handbills, posters and brochure calculated to mislead and deceive the public and an infringement of his right to publicity. Also joined in the suit is the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria.