Exxon Mobil Corporation Appeals Against The Decision Of The National Industrial Court Refusing To Stay Its Proceedings In A Labour Suit

Exxon Mobil Corporation has appealed against the decision of the National Industrial Court delivered on January 25, 2022, whereby the Court refused to stay its proceedings in a lawsuit filed by one Mr. Paul Arinze, the Claimant, for the wrongful termination of his employment by Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and Exxon Mobil Corporation. The Honourable Justice N. M. Esowe of the National Industrial Court, Lagos delivered the Court’s Ruling on January 25, 2022, refusing Exxon Mobil Corporation’s application.

Exxon Mobil Corporation had filed the application seeking to stay the proceedings of the Court in the matter, pending the hearing and determination of an Appeal it had filed at the Court of Appeal. The pending Appeal filed by the law firm of Kenna Partners led by Professor Fabian Ajogwu, SAN was against an earlier Ruling of the National Industrial Court delivered on September 29, 2021, whereby the Court elected to exercise jurisdiction over Exxon Mobil Corporation.

Exxon Mobil Corporation had challenged the jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court on the grounds that its contract with Mr Arinze was a simple contract and not an employment contract, governed by the laws and subject to the jurisdiction of the Courts in the United Stated of America where Exxon Mobil Corporation is domiciled and carries out its operations. The Claimant, Mr. Paul Arinze, through his Counsel, Mr. Emeka Ozoani, SAN of Emeka Ozoani & Co. argued in opposition that the Claimant was co-employed by Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and Exxon Mobil Corporation thus vesting the National Industrial Court with jurisdiction over both Defendants.

By its application to stay the National Industrial Court’s proceedings, Exxon Mobil Corporation contended that the continuation of the trial before the National Industrial Court would lead to a premature determination of its rights before the Appellate Court had the opportunity to consider its Appeal.

The Appeal of Exxon Mobil Corporation is centered around the fact that it never had an employment relationship with Mr. Arinze by itself, nor through its relationship with Mobil Producing Nigeria Limited. Furthermore, Exxon Mobil Corporation has stated that the reliefs sought by Mr Arinze against it cannot be granted since it was neither incorporated in Nigeria nor carried out its business in the country.

Source: ThisDay