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Woman who sued PUB for S$5 million after falling into manhole accepts settlement offer

Woman who sued PUB for S$5 million after falling into manhole accepts settlement offer

Chan Hui Peng, 47, was walking along a pavement on Simon Road when she fell into a manhole. (Photo: Court documents)

SINGAPORE: A woman who sued PUB for S$5 million after falling into an open manhole and suffering multiple physical and psychological injuries has accepted a confidential settlement offer and will withdraw her claim.

This came on the fourth day of the trial, with Ms Chan Hui Peng's lawyers accepting the offer late Thursday night (Nov 26).

Ms Chan's lawyer told CNA that his client felt the offer "was fair", and that the trial was "really taking a toll on her mental health".

Ms Chan had made the S$5 million claim, adjusted from an original figure of S$20 million, for an incident five years ago in Kovan.

READ: Woman who fell into open manhole sues PUB for S$5 million in 'unprecedented case'

She had fallen about 2m into an open manhole in a pedestrian path at the intersection of Simon Road and Upper Serangoon Road on a sunny morning on Dec 1, 2015.

She fractured her ankle, sustained multiple bruises and suffers lingering ailments such as an inability to run, an altered gait, and pain in her lower back. She also cited psychiatric injuries such as anxiety, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia.

She sued for damages including for pain and suffering for her injuries, cost of future medical expenses, loss of opportunity to have a child, prospective costs of a caregiver and loss of earning capacity and future earnings.

Her acceptance of the confidential offer, which was made by PUB's lawyers Mr Anparasan Kamachi, Ms Grace Tan Hui Ying and Mr Shanen Nanoo Siva Das from WhiteFern LLC, came after Mr Anparasan accused her of engineering her claim by orchestrating evidence of a mental illness and other complaints.

This was followed by Ms Tan taking her through extensive documented psychiatry notes from Tan Tock Seng Hospital from April 2016 to December 2016.

Ms Tan argued that there was no diagnosis of PTSD and that Ms Chan had tried to influence medical reports by asking the psychologist to amend her reports. The latter refused.

Hours after cross-examination ended, Ms Chan's lawyers, Mr Letchamanan Devadason and Mr Ivan Lee Tze Chuen from Legal Standard accepted the offer to settle on behalf of their client.

The terms of the offer to settle, which was made on Nov 10, are confidential, Ms Tan told CNA.

Parties appeared before the trial judge briefly on Friday morning to address the issue of costs. After this, Ms Chan is set to file a notice of discontinuance against PUB, withdrawing her claim.

They agreed to take the discussion on costs offline, and to return before the judge the following week to have a hearing on costs and any consequential orders.

Mr Anparasan said he would make "strong submissions" on Ms Chan's conduct and how she "thwarted mediation". He will also touch on "the whole issue of her schizophrenia".

"It's to send a strong signal out there for deterrence, having spent four days in court, what transpired," he said.

He added that there was a possibility the costs will "eat into the damages".

Source: CNA/ll(ac)

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