Nursing council fails to strike out fmr president’s lawsuit

A HIGH COURT judge has dismissed an application by the Nursing Council to strike out its previously ousted president’s lawsuit against it.

The council sought to have David Murphy’s claim thrown out on the basis of it was an abuse of the court since Murphy is now on the council’s executive after Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh appointed him as one of six members.

The minister’s appointments gave the council a lawful quorum to perform its duties which included registering nurses and administering nursing examinations until elections can be held, although operations are yet to resume.

The council had complained of Murphy’s action still being before the court especially since he had been re-elected to the executive and sought to have it struck out, saying he was acting in a dual capacity as an executive member and as a claimant making it a case of himself suing himself.

Murphy challenged the council’s decision to oust him as president in July, and its appointment of an interim president. He received leave to have the court review the decisions of the council between April 14-September 12.

However, Seepersad said in his oral decision on Tuesday that it would not be logical or reasonable if a member of a public body could not challenge or take action against the executive unless he/she resigns from the executive.

He said the rule of law ought to be encouraged, not discouraged by technical arguments.

The judge also said there was no issue with privacy and on the question of who to take instructions from, he said, instructions were taken before and the council ought not to be concerned of being compromised.

“It makes no difference if he is an appointed member,” Seepersad said, adding that prior to the minister’s re-appointment of Murphy the issue of conflict did not rise.

He said there could be no issue of Murphy’s re-appointment to the question of if the previous council acted lawfully in making decisions after its term came to an end in April.

Seepersad encouraged parties to adopt a position that would not be detrimental to third-parties.

Although he ordered the council to pay Murphy’s costs on the striking out application, the intervention of the TT Registered Nursing Association’s attorney Martin George led to the judge reversing his decision to the end of the hearing on the substantive matter.

George said because of the peculiar circumstances of the matter making an order for costs against the council would not promote dialogue between the parties.

Directions were given for the filing of submissions and Seepersad will give his decision on February 10.

 

By: Jada Loutoo

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