PRIVATE Hospital Gulf View Medical has been denied their application to the Privy Council which seeks to challenge a judge’s ruling which shut down its claim for urologist Dr Lester Goetz to contribute to the court-ordered compensation for insurance executive Russell Tesheira’s widow, former Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira.
On June 12, the Privy Council refused Gulf View’s application to include Goetz on the grounds that the application lacked merit.
This decision does not affect a substantive appeal in which the private hospital is challenging the court-ordered payment of the $18 million judgment brought against it by Tesheira. A date is yet to be fixed for the hearing of that appeal before the Privy Council
In August last year Justices of Appeal Nolan Bereaux, Gregory Smith and Prakash Moosai upheld High Court judge Frank Seepersad’s decision on the ground that the claim against the urologist at the hospital was abuse of the court’s process. In a 22 -page ruling, Bereaux and Smith delivered separate, but unanimous decisions. The San Fernando based private hospital failed to convince the judges to have Goetz contribute to a court-ordered compensation for Nunez-Tesheira. Nunez-Tesheira sued the hospital following the death of her husband, Russell. The hospital had argued that Goetz should pay a portion of an $18 million judgement against it.
In a ruling upheld by the Court of Appeal, on March 27, 2015, High Court Judge Vasheist Kokaram awarded Nunez-Tesheira be compensated $18,034,722.33. Tesheira, 53, died hours after the operation on April 13, 2004 at the private hospital.
In the 2018 Appeal Court ruling, Smith said there was no need to wait for a judgement of Tesheira’s claim against the hospital and anaesthesiologist Dr Crisen Roopchand before it decided to pursue its claim against Goetz for contribution and/or indemnity. On March 24, 2017, two years after Kokaram held Gulf View and Roopchand liable for negligence in Tesheira’s death after a prostate operation in 2004, the claim against Goetz was filed.
Smith said Gulf View’s conduct occasioned unfairness and prejudice against Goetz, unjustly harassed and was oppressive against the urologist. Bereaux, in his reasons, pointed out that not only did Gulf View not file an ancillary claim against Goetz, its defence at the trial before Kokaram was a joint defence with Roopchand, and one which supported Goetz’s competence.
In the claim for contribution, Gulf View’s lawyers argued it was Goetz who introduced Tesheira to them, had used the hospital’s facilities and there was a requirement for those who held practising privileges, to carry indemnity. The former minister and Goetz entered into a settlement on September 21, 2012. The nature of the agreement was revealed at the appeal between Gulf View and Goetz to be $2 million.
Gulf View has also since sued its previous lawyers for professional negligence in Tesheira's lawsuit.
The hospital is being represented by Mary O’Rourke QC, Anand Beharrylal QC and Alvin Pariagsingh in all the claims.