THE former lover of a successful doctor now faces eviction plus a $14,000 lawyer’s bill after losing a court fight with the late doctor’s son.
Olivia Springer, a 32 year-old nursing assistant, had a four-year romantic relationship with Dr Ram Singh, whom she met while on rotation at the La Horquetta Health Centre.
On Thursday a High Court judge ordered her to vacate the home at 52 Pine Ridge Development, Arima, that she said she shared with the doctor, by April 30.
In an oral ruling following a virtual trial on Thursday, Justice Frank Seepersad found there was a relationship between Springer and Singh, but that he made no provisions for her, nor did he leave her in his will the house they shared or the car she said he bought for her.
The judge also had some harsh words for the dead doctor, saying Singh “used her and had a good time with her,” while he described her as being naïve and besotted by the wealthy older doctor. Singh died of a heart attack.
He said while it might be considered morally offensive, legally there was no evidence to conclude she was entitled to the property or the car.
He said the expectations of the then 60-year-old doctor were not the same as Springer’s and because of this, he put her in an unfortunate circumstance of unrealistic expectations that the house and car would be hers.
He also found there was no evidence Singh wanted a live-in relationship with her, although she was not a trespasser on the property.
“This reflects badly on the manner of man of the deceased and the way he treated the young woman is unacceptable and is reflective of his dismissive attitude towards women.”
He said that type of conduct should be condemned.
“Women are not to be treated as playthings or the property of men,” he said, as he expressed hope that Singh’s two adult sons do not carry on the legacy of their father’s behaviour.
Reflecting on Monday being International Women’s Day, the judge said it was unfortunate that a young woman found herself in the grip of an older and experienced man, but said it was perhaps fortunate she did not have children with him.
“She is young enough to learn from this experience and move on,” he said.
Seepersad also said Singh’s ex-wife did well to end the marriage when she did. They divorced in 2004 because of his alleged infidelity.
Singh’s son Kieron Scott Singh, who held the power of attorney for his mother Takwati Christine Balroop, an attorney, took Springer to court because she refused to vacate the property.
The son, who lives in the United Kingdom, claimed in his lawsuit, his father, before he died, hired Springer’s mother as a domestic helper and hired his lover as a nursing assistant, which gave them licence to enter the property.
After Singh’s death in 2015, Springer also unsuccessfully sought a declaration from the family court that they had had a cohabitational relationship.
Seepersad pointed out a previous court refused to accept the relationship as cohabitation as prescribed under the Cohabitational Relationships Act, and he could not award her any damages, as the relationship did not exist for five years or more.
Springer had filed a counter-claim asking for the property to be sold and the proceeds divided between her and Singh’s estate, but the judge dismissed it. He also said it was difficult to accept she assisted in buying the $2.3 million home or contributing to the $15,000-a-month mortgage or even furnishing the home, when her salary was no more than $7,000.
There was also evidence that the property was bought using funds from a loan Singh's ex-wife had co-signed for another property in Valsayn. The judge also said it was unlikely the car was bought for Springer, as she and her mother testified at the trial, since the certified copy showed it had been bought long before they started a relationship.
However, Springer is likely to get the car and the furniture she claimed she bought to furnish the house, as the son’s lawyer, Haresh Ramnath, said he had spoken to the doctor’s children and was confident they will allow this.
He asked for the family to be allowed to enter the property before she moves out so that photographs can be taken to ensure no damage is done to it when she is moving out.
The judge approved of this, and issued her a warning to allow it.
Exhibited at the trial were photographs of the couple at their first vacation in Margarita. Springer said when they met at the health centre, he sent her roses. A few months later they moved into his small rented apartment and were happy there together.
She said they started talking about starting a family and the need for a larger home. Singh lost the $200,000 down payment to the Valsayn property, but then they found the multi-million-dollar five-bedroom home in the Pine Ridge Development.
She claimed to have spent some $76,155 to refurbish the property, another $58,485 to furnish it and paid the utility bills. She said they met his children four times during the four-and-a-half years they were together. On those occasions, they stayed outside by the pool, since Singh did not allow them inside the house.
Springer also claimed when he died, Singh’s children took his body from the funeral home to the Forensic Science Centre for an autopsy and broke into her home, rummaging through her personal belongings, put her pet dogs and parrot in cages and documents went missing.
She said she never pushed Singh to transfer the house or car into her name, though he would have done so, but she didn’t want him to think she was in the relationship for her own material gain ,and his other properties had been sold or transferred to his children, who had already received their inheritances.
“I never thought I would be in this position today,” she said in her claim.
Springer was represented by attorney Shaneis Murray.