Koh Wan Ting
10 Mar 2023 06:41PM (Updated: 10 Mar 2023 07:45PM)
SINGAPORE: A man initially sued Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and three doctors for S$800,000 over the death of his mother. But he now has to pay more than $756,000 in costs and other expenses, after a High Court judge factored in how the man turned down a chance to settle.
In his judgement issued on Friday (Mar 10), Justice Choo Han Teck said TTSH and the doctors should not have to bear costs that might have been saved, given that the man suing them had refused the offer to settle and ended up worse off.
The man, Mr Chia Soo Kiang, had taken the hospital and three doctors to court in August 2022. He claimed they were negligent in diagnosing his 74-year-old mother Tan Yaw Lan at TTSH’s emergency department, and on admission to a ward. Madam Tan died in May 2018.
Justice Choo dismissed the case on Oct 13 last year, finding that the hospital and three doctors had not been negligent.
The parties then entered a hearing over costs and disbursements.
Lawyers for defendants argued that they offered S$15,000 to Mr Chia to settle the case on Apr 24, 2020. He did not accept.
TTSH and the three doctors then asked for costs of action to be fixed at S$625,500 and disbursements at S$156,107.21.
The judge also noted that in this case, an offer of mediation had been rebuffed.
“In such circumstances, the law allows the court, unless for strong reasons otherwise, to order indemnity costs. I am of the view that the defendants here ought to be compensated by indemnity costs.”