Neo Kim Seng v Clough Petrosea Pte Ltd

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeJudith Prakash J
Judgment Date02 July 1996
Neutral Citation[1996] SGHC 131
Citation[1996] SGHC 131
Subject MatterLoss of future earnings,Damages,Multiplicand,Multiplier,Measure of damages,Loss of earning capacity,Personal injuries cases,Disparity in overtime pay earned by colleagues of same grade,Fairest method of calculating multiplicand,Whether award precluded by award of loss of future earnings
Plaintiff CounselR Karuppan Chettiar (Karuppan Chettiar & Husain)
Published date19 September 2003
Defendant CounselMartin Lee (Goh Poh & Pnrs)
Docket NumberSuit No 1275 of 1994
Date02 July 1996

Cur Adv Vult

This action was commenced by the plaintiff to recover damages forinjurywhich he sustained while in the employ of the defendants. At the beginning ofthe trial, the defendants admitted liability and the trial proceeded only onthe issue of quantum. After hearing the evidence, I awarded the plaintiff$55,000 as general damages for pain and suffering and also made awards inrespect of his pre\_trial loss of earnings, medical and transport expenses todate of trial and future medical expenses.

The plaintiff had also claimed damages for future loss ofearnings andfor loss of earning capacity. As regards the first item, I awarded $35,242based on a multiplier of six years and a multiplicand of $492 a month. I alsoawarded a further sum of $6,373 in respect of CPF contributions which wouldhave been payable by the defendants on such earnings. In respect of the claimfor loss of earning capacity, I made an award of $25,000. The plaintiff hasappealed against these two awards.

The facts

The plaintiff is a mechanic who has worked for the defendantssince1987. The defendants carry on business as ship repairers and the mechanicsthey employ have to work both in their shipyard and on board vessels to whichthey are attending.

In September 1991, the plaintiff was assigned to work on boardthe bargeAlaska Enterprise which was moored out at sea alongside a drilling supportvessel. At about 4pm on the afternoon of 15 September 1991, while theplaintiff was attending to a generator on board the barge, he was struck by awinch wire and sustained multiple fractures in both legs.

The plaintiff was admitted to Singapore General Hospital the sameafternoon, and at that stage it was noted that he had suffered an openfracture on each of the left and right tibias, and a closed fracture of theleft ankle. Some time later, in October 1993, he was found to have a neuromaof the right ankle. Dr Yeo Khee Quan, an orthopaedic surgeon whom theplaintiff consulted, opined that there had been severe injury to the rightankle and that it too had probably been fractured.

The plaintiff took some time to recover from his injuries. He wasonlyable to return to work on 16 March 1993 but even then he suffered from painand recurring problems with infection and residual disability. In court, theplaintiff complained that his legs were still weak and that he experienceddifficulties when moving around. He gave evidence that he had to be carefulnot to put any stress on his legs as if he strained them, the joints wouldswell. He was also unable to squat and, if he tried to do so, he wouldexperience severe pain in his calves. He found great difficulty in climbingstairs and could only do so by moving slowly and walking sideways.

The plaintiff complained that his work has been affected by hisinjuriesin many ways. He can no longer stand for long periods. After walking for about20 minutes or standing for about an hour or so, he has to take a break due tothe aching in his legs. As he has difficulty in squatting he has to do hiswork at a table and the parts which he is servicing or repairing have to belifted onto the work table for him. He can no longer do...

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10 cases
  • Quek Yen Fei Kenneth (by his litigation representative Pang Choy Chun) v Yeo Chye Huat and another appeal
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 24 April 2017
    ...the assessment of damages) would be expected to have a remaining working life of 43 years. In Neo Kim Seng v Clough Petrosea Pte Ltd [1996] 2 SLR(R) 413, the Singapore High Court observed at [15] that a manual worker would typically enjoy a shorter working life compared to a white collar wo......
  • Lua Bee Kiang (administrator of the estate of Chew Kong Seng, deceased) v Yeo Chee Siong
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 5 November 2018
    ...There appears to be some basis in the cases for this argument. In the High Court decision of Neo Kim Seng v Clough Petrosea Pte Ltd [1996] 2 SLR(R) 413 (“Neo Kim Seng”), which is cited by Mdm Lua, the plaintiff was a ship’s mechanic, and Judith Prakash J (as she then was) decided on a multi......
  • Lai Wai Keong Eugene v Loo Wei Yen
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 29 May 2014
    ...Inc SA [1992] 3 SLR (R) 244; [1993] 1 SLR 917 (refd) Mallett v Mc Monagle [1970] AC 166 (refd) Neo Kim Seng v Clough Petrosea Pte Ltd [1996] 2 SLR (R) 413; [1996] 3 SLR 522 (refd) Pahang Lin Siong Motor Co Ltd v Cheong Swee Khai [1962] MLJ 29 (refd) Poh Huat Heng Corp Pte Ltd v Hafizul Isla......
  • Choong Peng Kong v Koh Hong Son
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 23 June 2003
    ...Teo Sing Keng v Sim Ban Kiat [1994] 1 SLR 634, Wee Sia Tian v Long Thik Boon [1996] 3 SLR 513 and Neo Kim Seng v Clough Petrosea Pte Ltd [1996] 3 SLR 522. 15 For these reasons, both appeals before me were dismissed. ANNEXURE Special damages 1 Claim for motorcycle (a) Repairs : $3,300 (Agree......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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