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The Straits Times
Jan 31, 2023
A man who wanted a romantic relationship with a woman initially threatened to sue her for emotional trauma after he found out that she saw him only as a friend.
The legal action was kept at bay after she agreed to take part in his counselling, but almost 1½ years later, Mr K. Kawshigan still could not accept that Ms Nora Tan did not want to be in a relationship with him.
After she cut off contact with him, he filed two lawsuits against her – a $3 million High Court claim for allegedly causing “damage to his stellar reputation” and “trauma, depression and impacts” to his life, as well as a $22,000 magistrate’s court claim for allegedly breaching an agreement to improve their relationship.
The latter suit was struck out earlier in January by State Courts deputy registrar Lewis Tan, who said Mr Kawshigan’s claim was “manifestly groundless and without foundation” and amounted to an abuse of the court process.
In the judgment published on Saturday, Mr Tan said: “Considered in totality, I find that the present action was intentionally initiated by the claimant with the ulterior motive of vexing or oppressing the defendant by requiring her to defend various claims that fundamentally stem from the same factual matrix in different forums.”
He added: “This court will not be an accessory to his calculated attempt to compel engagement from the defendant who, after years of massaging the claimant’s unhappiness, has finally decided to stand up to his threats rather than cower and give in to his demands.”
Ms Tan and Mr Kawshigan met in 2016 and became friends over time.
In September 2020, problems began to arise when they became misaligned in how they saw their relationship. While Ms Tan regarded Mr Kawshigan only as a friend, he considered her to be his “closest friend”.
Ms Tan asked for their interactions to be reduced, which displeased Mr Kawshigan, as he felt it constituted taking a step back in their relationship. Nevertheless, she emphasised the need for boundaries and urged him to be “self-reliant”.
On Oct 22 that year, Mr Kawshigan issued her a letter of demand, threatening legal action for “monetary damages arising from negligent infliction of emotional distress and possible defamation”.
Ms Tan tried to reason with Mr Kawshigan. She told him in a text message that her “discomfort (was) genuine”. He responded by saying she could either comply with his demands to deepen their relationship or suffer “irrevocable” damage to her personal and professional endeavours.
Mr Kawshigan’s counsellor then asked Ms Tan to participate in their sessions. She agreed, as she thought it would help him come to terms with her decision not to pursue a romantic relationship with him.
After 1½ years, Ms Tan stopped the sessions as she felt they had become futile.
In April 2022, she started harassment proceedings against Mr Kawshigan. In response, he alluded to a potential claim against her in a text message peppered with terms like “damage that has strong legal basis” and “make your liability worst”.
After back-and-forth discussions on the steps to be taken to better align their relationship, Ms Tan decided on May 14 to cease communications as she felt she could no longer deal with his requests for increased interaction and his inability to respect her personal boundaries.
On July 7, he filed a High Court claim against her. He alleged that due to certain remarks and negligence on her part, he suffered a loss in earning capacity and business partnerships, as well as costs incurred in rehabilitation and therapy programmes to overcome the trauma he suffered.
Ms Tan then obtained an expedited protection order against him and engaged lawyers to file her defence and counterclaim to the suit.
On Aug 27, Mr Kawshigan filed the magistrate’s court claim for alleged breach of the steps to better align their relationship.
He claimed that as a result of the breach, his earning capacity as an “active high-capital trader by night and a busy CEO by day” has been negatively affected, and that he has had to look for “deeper psychological assistance”.
Ms Tan then applied to strike out this claim.
The $3 million High Court claim is fixed for a pre-trial hearing on Feb 9.