Court rules TTGF must pay its own legal cost

Thema Williams has won again in court. 

Today Justice Frank Seepersad ruled that the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation's council members would have to pay their own legal costs after the TTGF sought to have Williams pay costs in a recent lawsuit she brought against them. 

Judge Seepersad in his ruling and stated: "The presence of these defendants was critical, and it was reasonable for the claimant to have joined them as parties as their evidence was necessary for the resolution of the issues. If they were not parties, they may not have been called as witnesses and the court would have been deprived of evidence which was ultimately material."

Justice Seepersad wrote in exercising its discretion as to who should pay costs, the court is mandated to consider all the circumstances of the case.

 

Last week, Justice Seepersad ruled that the federation and its former executive members acted unfairly and unreasonably when they replaced Williams at an Olympic test event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in April 2016.

Seepersad had ruled that the executive failed to properly investigate claims that Williams was injured at warm-ups for the event before they voted to replace her.

The judgement was bittersweet for Williams as Seepersad did not uphold her full multi-million claims for damages for loss of promotional and scholarship opportunities.

As she could not provide evidence of the alleged lost opportunities, Seepersad awarded her $50,000 in damages as he estimated her potential earning if she had qualified to be the first person to represent T&T in gymnastics at the Olympics.

She was also awarded $150,000 in exemplary damages for the loss of the "once in a lifetime" opportunity to participate at the games and the embarrassment she suffered from being replaced in questionable circumstances.

While Seepersad ruled that former president David Marquez, vice-president Akil Wattley, Ricardo Lue Shue and his wife Donna were intrinsically biased against Williams and favoured Williams' replacement Marissa Dick, he ruled that they could not be held responsible in their personal capacities as there was no evidence that they conspired against her as claimed by Williams.

- with reporting by Peter Christopher

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