Judge strikes out negligence claim against ex-SportTT directors in LifeSport lawsuit

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Justice Ricky Rahim

A HIGH COURT judge on Wednesday stuck out negligence claims against former directors of the Sports Company (Sport TT) and its then chief executive arising from the failed LifeSport programme.

However, the 14 former directors and the then chief executive officer will still have to answer to the company’s breach of fiduciary duty claim filed against them in 2017 in relation to a contract with eBeam Interact Ltd in June 2013.

The matter is set for trial before Justice Ricky Rahim, starting on Tuesday.

Named as defendants in Sport TT’s claim are former directors Sebastian Paddington, Chlea Lamsee-Ebanks, Reynold Bala, Morris Blanc, Nisa Dass, Anly Gopeesingh, Sabrenah Khayyam, Cheemattee Martin, Matthew Quamina, Annan Ramnansingh, Kent Samlal, Harnarine Seeram Singh, Milton Siboo and former CEO John Mollenthiel.

The judge ruled on an application by Mollenthiel to strike out the entire claim against him or the relief for the $34 million.

In his ruling, Rahim agreed to strike out the company’s negligence claim against not only Mollenthiel but also the other 13 former directors. And while he left the allegation of breach of fiduciary duty for the trial, the judge also struck out Sport TT’s claim for equitable compensation of $34 million.

He said that claim for $34 million, even under breach of fiduciary duty, could not be made out since the case, on a whole, did not appear to disclose clear, ascertainable evidence of loss suffered.

Rahim said such a claim had to be proven by evidence. “The absence of proof of actual loss or damage is fatal to that cause of action as actual loss is an element of the tort of negligence.”

He said it may be open to the court, if it finds there was a breach of fiduciary duty after the evidence is presented, to craft an order to do justice of the case.

“In so far as the claim sought equitable compensation for $34 million for breach of fiduciary this cannot be made out so that will be struck out.”

And, as part of his ruling, he also struck out those reliefs sought by Sport TT that related to the $34 million claim.