RAMNARINE BISPATH v DR. HARRY SEENATH NO. 4998 of 1985
Case Name: Ramnarine Bispath v Dr. Harry Seenath No. 4998 of 1985
Date of Judgment: 3rd December, 1985
Presiding Judge: Master Occah Seapaul
On 30th October, 1984, the Plaintiff brought an action for medical negligence which resulted in the death of an infant.
On 2nd September, 1985, the defendant applied for an order for the Plaintiff’s Statement of Case to be struck out on the grounds that the claims were frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the Court’s process since the action was commenced about three and a half years after the defendant’s professional services terminated.
According to section 27 of the Medical Board Act of Trinidad and Tobago Chapter 29:50(repealed by Act No. 36 of 1997) inter alia, no member of the Medical Board or holder of a temporary licence shall be liable to any action for negligence for professional services rendered unless such action is commenced within one year from the date when such professional services terminated.
Counsel for the Plaintiff submitted that before the defendant could avail himself of section 27, he must provide particulars of his registration with the Medical Board. Since the Defendant admitted paragraph 2 of the Plaintiff’s Statement of Claim, which described him as a “general medical practitioner practicing at the corner of Wilson Street and the Eastern Main Road St. Augustine,” the Court was of the view that unless there was evidence that the defendant was not a medical practitioner, the defendant can avail himself of the provisions of section 27 of the Medical Board Act.
Master Occah Seapaul held that the Defendant’s application was well founded and the Statement of Claim be struck out.
He shared the view expressed by Davies L.J in Riches v Director of Public Prosecutions 1973 2 A.E.R. 939 which stated, “…it is difficult to see why a defendant should be called upon to pay large sums of money and a plaintiff be permitted to waste large sums of … money in an attempt to pursue a cause of action which has already been barred by the statute of limitation…,” and the Plaintiff was therefore ordered to pay taxed costs.