Parents Settle Negligence Lawsuit Linked to Son’s Suicide for S$330,000 Amid Legal Wrangle

The parents who had filed a S$3.3 million (US$2.4 million) lawsuit against a private psychiatrist and the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) over alleged negligence linked to their son’s suicide have reached a settlement for S$330,000. However, complications have arisen as the father’s former lawyer sought to have the settlement money paid into court due to concerns that the plaintiffs might abscond with the funds while unpaid legal fees are still pending.

The parents, Mr. Steven Joseph Arokiasamy and Madam Tan Kin Tee, sued Dr. Nelson Lee Boon Chuan and IMH, attributing their son’s suicide to the defendants. The deceased, Mr. Salvin Foster Steven, passed away at the age of 31 in 2017. The lawsuit was discontinued after the parents settled with the defendants following the termination of legal representation for both parties.

Justice Choo Han Teck, in a judgment issued on Friday, dismissed the summonses brought by the father’s former lawyer, stating that the lawyers involved should negotiate with their ex-clients on costs and “leave them with a sum sufficient as a balm for their grief.” The legal dispute sheds light on the intricacies of settling such sensitive cases involving legal fees and settlement amounts.

Mr. Vijay Rai, the father’s former lawyer, expressed concerns about the plaintiffs potentially misusing the settlement money while his fees amounting to over S$372,000 remain unpaid. Another lawyer, Mr. Anil Balchandani, who represented the deceased man’s mother, is also seeking legal fees of approximately S$141,000.