RICHARD DAGBER, Appellant v. A. MOLLEY, Appellee.

Argued January 23, 1978. Decided February 3, 1978. 

1. A lessee wrongfully threatened with eviction by his landlord does not have an adequate
remedy at law and is consequently entitled to an injunction to prevent any such action.

 2. When fraud is pleaded in connection with a contract, parol evidence and collateral agreements to prove or disprove such allegations 
are admissible to show that the writing does not correctly represent the actual agreement between the parties.

 3. A court commits error in refusing to hear evidence that fraud attended the drafting of an agreement which is the basis for the action before it.

This was an action by a lessee to obtain a preliminary injunction to prevent eviction by his landlord. Plaintiff claimed that the lease had 
been drafted by the defendant/lessor for one year rather than for two years as agreed upon between them, and that he signed the writing without 
reading it and believing that it was for the longer period. The lessee had also commenced an action for specific performance of the agreement in
which a judgment of dismissal by the lower court was reversed on appeal by the Supreme Court. Dagber v. Molley, [1978] LRSC 6;  26 LLR 422 (1978).
 The lower court dismissed the suit for a preliminary injunction, and this was an appeal to the Supreme Court from that decision.
The Court held that no adequate remedy at law existed in favor of appellant/lessee to protect him from an eviction. It held also
that the lower court should have admitted evidence to show that the lease as drafted did not reflect the agreement between the parties.
Judgment was therefore reversed and the case remanded.

Counsellor Moses K. Yangbe appeared for appellant.
Counsellor Samuel E. H. Pelham appeared for appellee. MR. JUSTICE TULAY delivered the opinion of the Court. Richard Dagber, appellant
in this case, entered into a lease agreement as lessee with A. Molley as lessor for a certain premises owned by lessor. The agreement
offered in evidence states that the agreement commenced on April 1, 1976, and ran through March 31, 1977, at an annual rent of $1,2oo
payable semiannually. According to plaintiff/appellant, the preliminary talks between the parties resulted in an agreement for a
lease for two years commencing April 1, 1976, but to his surprise, defendant/appellee, who prepared the written agreement, inserted
therein a provision for only one year, contrary to the oral agreement reached by them; and that, because he was extremely busy under
a car in his work as a mechanic at the time appellee presented him the document for his signature, he signed it without reading through
it. When the defendant/appellee wrote appellant to surrender the premises at the expiration of the one-year written lease agreement
entered into between them, appellant sued out an action of specific performance together with this action for a preliminary injunction
to restrain appellee from evicting him. The court below dismissed the specific performance suit under the disposition of issues of
law, from which ruling an appeal was announced. 

The lower court subsequently dismissed the action for a preliminary injunction also.
Appellant appealed from this ruling to this Court for review on a three-count bill of exceptions. We shall take up the three counts
in reverse order. In count 3 of the bill it is brought out that the trial judge erred by not allowing production of evidence to prove
or disprove the factual issue raised in the pleadings. Of course counsel for appellee in the second paragraph of his brief impresses upon 
this Court that appellant has a remedy at law, arguing that "there being no scintilla of evidence
produced by the appellant to warrant the extraordinary writ of injunction, the trial judge was legally correct to dismiss the action."
When we speak of "remedy at law" in connection with an action of injunction we must guard our language lest we misstate the law.
Injunction, when defined in common language, is an action sued out to restrain an impending act which, if perpetrated, exposes the
plaintiff to an injury for which pecuniary compensation or other action is inadequate. To say, therefore, that injunction will not
lie because plaintiff has a remedy at law is a fallacy because "remedy at law" is not the same as "adequate remedy." Injunction properly
obtains if the remedy at law is inadequate. Suppose, in the instant case, appellant had not appealed from the judgment below. The
subsequent summary ejectment proceeding instituted against him in the Magistrate Court would then have ended in his eviction from
the premises, and as a result he would have suffered from May 1977 to the present while the appeal in the specific performance case
was pending before this Court, and, if the case was remanded, for a period of unknown duration before it would again reach the Supreme
Court and be disposed of. Surely, there was a remedy at law, but would that remedy have been commensurate with the inconvenience
and injury which would have been suffered by the plaintiff? The answer must be in the negative. Point of the appellee's brief is
therefore overruled. Reverting to the same point of his brief, we find counsel for appellee, instead of seeking to convince the court that appellant
has an adequate remedy at law, turning around to confirm the contention raised by appellant that the trial judge failed to hear evidence
even though factual issues were raised in the pleadings. No testimony given by a witness and no argument before us by counsel for defendant/appellee refuted this contention. 
It is, therefore, correctly argued that the judge erred in not permitting introduction of witnesses on the trial. Appellant's count 3 is, therefore, sustained. 

This Court has held that upon an allegation that a party has committed fraud, every species of evidence tending to establish said allegation should be adduced
at the trial. Henrichsen v. Moore,  5 LLR 6o (1936). Professor Corbin in an article entitled "The Parol Evidence Rule,"  53 Yale Law Journal 603,622 (1944) , 
writes : "The `parol evidence rule' is not, and does not purport to be, a rule of interpretation or a rule as to the
admission of evidence for the purpose of interpretation. Even if a written document has been assented to as the complete and accurate
integration of the terms of a contract, it must still be interpreted and all those factors [antecedent agreements and communications]
that are of assistance in this process may be proved by oral testimony." From the above citations of law we conclude that whenever
fraud is pleaded in connection with a lease or covenant, parol evidence and collateral agreements relating to the same subject matter
are always admissible to show that the writing does not correctly represent the agreement actually made. Since these are exactly
the prevailing circumstances surrounding the case in point, we hold that count 3 of the appellant's bill of exceptions is sustained
over point 2 of appellee's brief. 

Though not in his brief, counsel for appellee argued before this Court that the trial judge correctly
dissolved the injunction suit because, after the dismissal of the cancellation proceeding filed by appellant, the action for an injunction,
being an ancillary one, could not stand after the main suit had failed. In other words, he is contending that an action of injunction
cannot be sued out independently without connection with a main suit. We refuse to accept this general
conclusion, for an injunction suit, in the case of easement of way, may properly lie to restrain an owner-defendant in his attempt
to block the only egress and ingress to plaintiff's premises which lie directly behind those of the defendant. Another contention
advanced by appellee's counsel was based on the trial court's ruling, the relevant portion of which we quote here : "It is unreasonable
therefore to believe that the defendant will take any other position or action during the pendency of the action of specific performance
which would render final judgment in said case ineffectual. It is obvious that if the defendant should have taken upon himself to
attempt to forcibly evict the plaintiff from the premises during the pendency of an action against him for the same premises, he
would have exposed himself to contempt proceedings in the Supreme Court." In other words, it is argued that the injunction suit was
no longer necessary after the court below had ruled out the specific performance proceeding and appellant had announced appeal from
said ruling, since the announcement of the appeal stayed all further actions in the entire proceedings, meaning both the specific
performance and injunction suits. We wonder if this argument is made in good faith. Since specific performance and injunction are
not one and the same action, how could an announcement of appeal from the judgment in one create a stay order in the other? This
conclusion, if at all sincere, arrived at by the trial judge and counsel for appellee is erroneous, of course. Its sincerity has
already been betrayed by the subsequent filing of a summary ejectment proceeding in the magisterial court by appellee and his counsel
against appellant. We maintain that appellant would have been ousted from the premises long ago had he not announced appeal from
the judgment entered against him in the injunction suit, and appellee, for sodoing, would not have
exposed himself to contempt proceedings in the absence of any such suit. The argument, therefore, carries no weight. In counts r
and z of appellant's bill of exceptions it is shown that the trial court did not pass upon the factual issues raised in the pleadings
which have enabled the appellate court to properly review and either affirm or reverse the judgment. This contention is properly
raised. In Ross v. Roberts, 3 LLR z66, 272 (undated) , this court said : "While it is an admitted fact that it is the power of the
court to decide and pronounce a judgment and carry it into effect between persons and parties who bring a case before it for decision, 
yet its decision must be based on some principle of law or fact." 

The Court then remanded the case to the trial court in accord with stipulations of counsel for both
parties in order that one of the issues, the commission of fraud attending the execution of a deed, on which no evidence had previously
been received, might be more fully explored. In the case at bar, fraud is alleged to have attended the drawing up of the lease agreement,
yet the judge below elected not to hear evidence on the issues raised in the pleadings when it dismissed the suit for an injunction.
Truly this was a hasty conclusion, and constituted reversible error. The ruling appealed from is reversed and the case remanded with
instructions that it be redocketed to be tried according to law. And it is so ordered. Judgment reversed; case remanded.
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