Man rejected by woman sues her for S$3m over trauma from finding out he is only a friend
Mr K Kawshigan claims the woman's actions caused damage to his "stellar reputation" followed by "depression and impacts to his life".
SINGAPORE: A man who was rejected romantically by a woman has launched two lawsuits against her for failing to improve their relationship and for the emotional trauma he suffered and other impacts on his life.
Mr K Kawshigan filed one suit against Ms Nora Tan Shu Mei in the Magistrate's Court for S$22,000 in damages, for purportedly breaching an agreement to improve their relationship.
The second was filed in the High Court for S$3 million, for the emotional trauma he allegedly suffered after finding out that she saw him only as a friend.
According to court documents later obtained by CNA, he also claimed that her actions had caused damage to his "stellar reputation", followed by "trauma, depression and impacts to his life" over a 24-month period.
The lawsuit in the Magistrate's Court was struck out by deputy registrar Lewis Tan, according to a judgment published on Saturday (Jan 28).
Mr Tan called the civil suit an abuse of process and said the court would not be an accessory to Mr Kawshigan's "calculated attempt to compel engagement" from Ms Tan.
BACKGROUND OF THE RELATIONSHIP
According to the judgment, Mr Kawshigan first met Ms Tan in a social setting in 2016. They became friends, but problems began to arise around September 2020, when they "became misaligned about how they saw their relationship", said Mr Tan.
Ms Tan saw Mr Kawshigan as a friend, but Mr Kawshigan considered her his closest friend. In the discussions that followed, Ms Tan asked for their interactions to be reduced.
This caused displeasure to Mr Kawshigan, who felt this would constitute taking a step back in their relationship. Ms Tan emphasised the need for boundaries and to restrict their meet-ups, urging Mr Kawshigan to be "self-reliant".
In exchanges laid out in the judgment, Ms Tan tried to reason with Mr Kawshigan, telling him that her "discomfort is genuine".
Mr Kawshigan replied: "Your discomfort is as fake as the cause."
He later said: "Don't you get it? I don't care about you anymore from here on. From now on, you are the Respondent and I am the Claimant. And emotionally, till the day I die, you are the cause of my trauma."
Ms Tan replied: "I have heard this before."
Mr Kawshigan went on to say that "we will talk again once every single person disproves you. And you find that you were wrong about me. And that you truly hurt me."
When Ms Tan asked him what she was wrong about, Mr Kawshigan replied: "Get lost. See you in court."
He later added: "I don't go into battle without the aim of winning, especially if I am right."
THE COUNSELLING SESSIONS
Weeks after this, a woman claiming to be Mr Kawshigan's counsellor reached out to Ms Tan to ask that Ms Tan participate in counselling sessions.
Thinking that it would help Mr Kawshigan come to terms with things, Ms Tan agreed. The legal proceedings that Mr Kawshigan had threatened were kept at bay while Ms Tan complied, but the sessions bore little fruit.
Ms Tan kept up with the counselling sessions for one-and-a-half years, but stopped them thereafter as she felt they were "meaningless and futile". She had also grown unable to deal with Mr Kawshigan's "unreasonable requests", the registrar noted.
Sometime before April 2022, Ms Tan initiated harassment proceedings against Mr Kawshigan. In response, Mr Kawshigan messaged Ms Tan to say he had also suffered hurt in the process.
He began alluding to a potential claim against her, using terms like "duty of care", "damage that has strong legal basis" and "make your liability worst".
He wrote: "In a nutshell right, my hurt ... the portion that is affected by your ways. Is the due process that you don't follow in assisting to prevent the harm I've gone through. A lot of harm could have been avoided if you followed the other side of due process."
He also claimed that he had "damage that has strong legal basis".
Ms Tan digested the messages and tried to change the topic, while faced with the prospect of civil action. She suggested adding the counsellor to the chat group, but Mr Kawshigan asked Ms Tan to get back to him on an "improvement summary as planned" so they could review the list together before sending it to the counsellor.
THE LIST OF IMPROVEMENTS
The next day, Ms Tan sent Mr Kawshigan a list of improvements she told him she could expect from him. These included "safeguarding your don'ts", "not trivialising your pain and hurt", and "meeting up based on mutual availability, beyond coffee settings".
This list was later used by Mr Kawshigan as an agreement that formed the basis of his claim in the Magistrate's Court.
The list was also the source of significant conflict between the pair, said the deputy registrar, with Mr Kawshigan insisting on increased interaction and sharing, and Ms Tan wanting to maintain boundaries.
For example, Mr Kawshigan pressed for "detailed sharing" when meeting up, and later asked to go out for a long weekend. When Ms Tan rejected him, Mr Kawshigan said "I think you know how badly I need meetups. It's been long overdue and it's affecting me."
Differences arose whenever Ms Tan attempted to maintain a distance, and Mr Kawshigan saw this as "breaches" of the agreement that caused him "hurt".
After more exchanges like this, Ms Tan stopped communicating with Mr Kawshigan on May 14, 2022, as she could no longer deal with his unreasonable requests and his inability to respect her personal boundaries.
On Jun 2, 2022, Mr Kawshigan sent Ms Tan a letter informing her that he was making an offer of amicable resolution before commencing a civil action against her.
THE HIGH COURT SUIT
Ms Tan did not reply to the offer to settle, and Mr Kawshigan initiated the High Court action against her on Jul 7, 2022. He claimed damages in excess of S$3 million for her allegedly defamatory remarks and negligent conduct.
He claimed that her remarks suggesting that he had harassed and spied on her caused him to suffer damage to his "stellar reputation", as well as "trauma, depression and impacts" to his life.
The S$3 million figure also included "indefinite loss of potential investments" amounting to S$1.2 million.
Meanwhile, Ms Tan obtained an expedited protection order against Mr Kawshigan and filed her defence and counterclaim to the High Court action.
She said she was a victim of Mr Kawshigan's harassment, and that he had sent her threatening messages saying she had to maintain communications with him or face civil proceedings and or police action.
Mr Kawshigan claimed S$22,000 in special damages in the Magistrate Court suit. He claimed that his earning capacity as an "active high-capital trader by night and a busy CEO by day" has been negatively affected.
In addition, he said he had to "expend time and energies to scramble and source for deeper psychological assistance".
Deputy registrar Lewis Tan borrowed Ms Tan's words and said Mr Kawshigan commenced the suit because she no longer wants to have contact with him in any way, and Mr Kawshigan is refusing to accept this fact.
"This is well supported by his course of conduct and correspondence with her over the years, which I have detailed above," said Mr Tan.
"The body of evidence collectively reveal his tendency to resort to legalese and raise threats of litigation to compel compliance from the defendant. While he had been successful before, it appears that the defendant is now resolved to stand up against his threats. Faced with the mounting evidence against him, the claimant has not provided any evidence in his bare affidavit to shine a different light on the picture painted," said Mr Tan.
He found that the Magistrate Court action was intentionally initiated by Mr Kawshigan with the "ulterior motive of vexing or oppressing" Ms Tan, by requiring her to defend various claims.
According to Ms Tan's lawyers, Mr Edmond Pereira and Ms Jessica Cheung, the court on Tuesday ordered Mr Kawshigan to pay costs of S$14,000 plus GST and disbursements to Ms Tan.
Ms Tan has a long-term personal protection order application against Mr Kawshigan, with the trial for this continuing in February.
Separately, Ms Tan has also lodged a magistrate's complaint against Mr Kawshigan, her lawyers said. This matter is pending.
The High Court suit is fixed for a case conference in February.