Cornerstone insurance sued over unauthorized use of actor’s photograph

A Nigerian actor, Ahmed Afolabi Roleola, who alleged that, an Insurance company Cornerstone Insurance Plc and its subsidiary Cornerstone life Assurance Limited have been using his photograph and goodwill to propel their business for commercial gains has renewed his N340 million legal battle against the two companies. 
The case has been on since 2017.
In an amendment statement of claim filed before a Federal high court in Lagos. The plaintiff Ahmed Afolabi Roleola, who claimed to have established his name within and outside Nigeria as a model, personality and in modeling business and in recognition of his sterling reputation and illustrious career, has won several awards well deserved, alleged that sometimes in 2009 he saw advertorials containing his photographs in the form of handbills and posters used by the Cornerstone Insurance Plc to promote and advertise their policy tagged  “Mortgage Protection Plan,” both within and outside the country without his consent, knowledge and approval. 
When he discovered the unauthorized use of his photographs and the goodwill by the defendants, he mandated his solicitors to write letters to the defendants expressing his displeasure and demanded compensation, but that the defendants ignore his demands, adding that another letter was written to the defendants, but same was ignored.      
The Plaintiff further alleged that Cornerstone Insurance Plc and Cornerstone Assurance Limited have persistently ignored his request for compensation despite having benefited well over N1billion from the sale of their products using the Plaintiff ‘s photograph and goodwill. 
Consequently, the Plaintiff while urging the court to enter judgment in his favour in the sum of N240million being his entitlement from the sale of the defendants products and all other goodwill used to promote their benefit, using his (Plaintiff’s)  photographs and goodwill to promote their various products from 2008 till date. 
Interest at the rate of 21% before judgement and 10% after judgement until the judgement debt is fully liquidated. 
The sum of N100 million as General damages for the unauthorised use of his photograph.       
He also sought for an order of the court directing Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria to prevail on Cornerstone insurance Plc and Cornerstone Life Assurance Limited to ensure the payment of his entitlement and apply sanctions where appropriate.      
Cornerstone in its statement of defence, filed before the court, by Barrister T. A. G. Ivory, the insurance Company while denying most of the deposition contained in the plaintiff’s claim, also filed a counterclaim demanding the sum of N1,800,000.00 as cost of unnecessary litigation as the plaintiff had earlier dragged them before a Lagos High Court and another sum of N5,000,000.00 as cost of the present action.
The Cornerstone Insurance  while denying the plaintiff’s claim, said it did not at any time use Roleola’s photograph either in handbills or poster 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,  
However, the insurance company stated that sometimes  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 conceptualise, design and print among other things, a Mortgage Protection Plan” Policy brochure and 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 11th November, 2010 it however, denied engaging in any unauthorised use of the plaintiff’s photographs for advertorial as alleged.

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