Case Update: Centre for Laser and Aesthetic Medicine Pte Ltd v Goh Pui Kiat [2017] SGHC 72 – Successful Claim for Breach of Confidentiality and Conspiracy to Injure by Unlawful Means

Significance: Singapore High Court held that former director, a aesthetic doctor, breached obligations of confidentiality and conspired with intent to injure the former company (a medical clinic) by unlawful means. The Court held that the damages payable would be the loss computed based on the profits to the new company/clinic made from the diversion of patients and expedited by the use of the confidential information. The Court made a fair and reasonable estimate that the diversion of patients would have taken place within 6 months without the use of the confidential information, and so computed the loss based on such timeline.

Case Update: ACB v Thomson Medical Pte Ltd and others [2017] SGCA 20 – Court of Appeal awards loss of genetic affinity claim for wrongful fertilisation (IVF mix up) case

Significance

The Singapore Court of Appeal awarded a loss of genetic affinity head of claim in a negligence tort suit for a case of wrongful fertilisation (IVF mix up). This is a novel unprecedented head of claim (possibly worldwide). Although the Court rejected the claim for upkeep costs of the child on public policy grounds, it decided to peg the loss of genetic affinity damages to a percentage of the upkeep costs. Summary of the decision here.

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MCST Plan No 3322 v Tiong Aik Construction Pte Ltd – SGCA holds no non-delegable duties on construction professionals

MCST Plan No 3322 v Tiong Aik Construction Pte Ltd [2016] SGCA 40

Significance: Singapore Court of Appeal held that the architect and builder / main contractor is not subject to a non-delegable duty in tort to ensure that the building and design of a building was carried out without negligence on the part of any of their sub-contractors: MCST Plan No 3322 v Tiong Aik Construction Pte Ltd [2016] SGCA 40. The Court also held that moving forward, to demonstrate that a non-delegable duty arises on a particular set of facts, a claimant must minimally be able to satisfy the court either that: (a) the facts fall within one of the established categories of non-delegable duties; or (b) the facts possess all the features described at [58] above.

In this case, RSP Architects and Tiong Aik Construction were sued by The Seaview’s MCST.
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Case Update: A M Mohamud v WM Morrison Supermarkets plc [2016] UKSC 11

A M Mohamud (in substitution for Mr A Mohamud (deceased)) v WM Morrison Supermarkets plc [2016] UKSC 11

Significance: the UK Supreme Court held that an employer was vicariously liable for its employee’s act of causing injury to a customer under the close connection test.

Comment: this decision is significant because under previous applications of the doctrine of vicarious liability, an employer will not be held liable for an employee’s acts which were on his whim and frolic, outside the course of employment, or were unauthorised acts. In this case, the Court extended the analysis of unauthorised modes of authorised acts by the employer to an irrational physical attack as falling within the authorised act of an employee’s interactions with a customer.

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Case Update: Nava Bharat (Singapore) Pte Ltd v Straits Law Practice LLC and another and another appeal [2016] SGCA 12 – SGCA dismisses negligence claim against lawyer re advice on cross-border transaction

Significance: Singapore Court of Appeal held that the plaintiff’s solicitors had not been negligent in advising on the legal implications of the plaintiff proceeding with the cross-border transaction to acquire an interest in an Indonesian coal mine based on an oral undertaking given by a 3rd party to obtain a forestry licence.

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Article: Defamation, Libel, Slander, Malicious Falsehood

Introduction

What’s defamation, libel and slander? Defamation is the injury of another person’s reputation by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or which tends to lower him in the esteem of right-thinking members of society. Libel and slander are forms of defamation. Libel is defamation in writing or image. Slander is spoken defamation. The key difference between the two is that special damages must be proven with regard to slander but not libel.

A person who has been defamed may bring an action or claim in the tort of defamation against the person defaming him. Related to this is the tort of malicious falsehood.

Defamation, Libel, Slander, Tort, Malicious Falsehood

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Case Update: Simgood Pte Ltd v MLC Shipbuilding Sdn Bhd [2015] SGHC 303

  1. The plaintiff succeeded inter alia in a claim in detinue.
  2. A claim in detinue lies at the suit of a person who has a right to immediate possession of goods against a person who is in possession of the goods and who, upon proper demand and without lawful excuse, fails or refuses to deliver them up.: [159].
  3. There are important distinctions between a cause of action in conversion and a cause of action in detinue. The former is a single wrongful act and the cause of action accrues at the date of the conversion; the latter is a continuing cause of action which accrues at the date of the wrongful refusal to deliver up the goods and continues until delivery up of the goods or judgment in the action for detinue. Demand for delivery up of the chattel was an essential requirement of an action in detinue, and detinue lay only when at the time of the demand for delivery up of the chattel made by the person entitled to possession the defendant was either in actual possession of it or was estopped from denying that he was still in possession: [159], [161].
  4. A proper demand is crucial to ground an action in detinue because it puts the person in possession of the goods clearly on notice that he should no longer retain the goods but instead deliver them up to the person entitled to possession of them. Two justifications are provided for this requirement. First, the requirement of a demand ensures fairness to the person in possession of the goods by giving him reasonable notice that he is to put the goods in a state of readiness for delivery. Second, the requirement of a demand fixes a clear and fair point in time at which the cause of action in detinue arises: [163].
  5. Judgment in a successful action in detinue may take a number of forms. One of those is a judgment for the return of the chattel or recovery of its value as assessed together with damages for wrongful retention: [168].