Rs.187 MN to Former Medical Student

Published : 9:53 am  February 28, 2015 | No comments so far |  | 


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The Colombo District Court in a landmark judgment delivered yesterday ordered the payment of Rs.187 million and the legal interest to Dr. Samitha Samanmalee who was paralysed after a marquee collapsed on her at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Convention Centre (BMICH).


Judge Pradeep Hettiarachchi in a 65-page order awarded damages to the former medical student after finding the BMICH administration guilty of negligence.


The plaintiff, Samanmalee had visited the BMICH on February 16, 2008 as a member of the organising committee of the MEDEX exhibition.
The marquee had been erected for the Deyata Kirula Exhibition held at the same premises six days prior to the tragedy.


The Court found the administrators of the premises liable to provide a ‘safe environment’ and owed a ‘duty of care’ to all visitors. The judgement specifying the circumstances of the case said the entire premises was under the control of the Respondents and therefore the Respondents were liable for any injuries that were caused within the premises.



The Judgment which cited international laws said the Respondent organisation should have foreseen injury to a visitor as a result of the temporary sheds built within the premises.
The Court dismissed the assertion of the Respondent organisation, that it was not responsible for the collapse of the fittings erected by a third party.
The doctor sued the BMICH for the permanent and serious injuries caused to her spine which immobilized her lower limbs. The Plaintiff, who is now a Medical Doctor, is permanently disabled as a result of the tragedy.



Following a lengthy trial which began in October 2009, the defendants were ordered to pay Rs.110 million as future medical expenses, Rs.50 million for the loss of future income, Rs.20 million for the pain and suffering and loss of amenities to the petitioner. The Judge said the damages should be paid from October 16, 2009 with the legal interest.
President’s Counsel Wijedasa Rajapakshe with Vishura De Livera Tennakoon, Nilantha Kumarage and Ranjith Hathurusinghe instructed by G.G. Arulpragasam appeared for the Plaintiff.
At the conclusion of the trial Dr. Samitha Samanmalee thanked her Counsel for the honorary service rendered to her  by appearing on her behalf in this case. She said in future this will become a landmark case where innocent people end up as victims of negiligence.