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Dec 22, 2014

CCJ Upholds Judgment for Janae Matute, Government is Hard Pay

Janae Matute

Fourteen-year-old Janae Matute was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, a lifelong condition that has been attributed to a medical error committed when Doctor Raju Meenavalli miscalculated her mother’s pregnancy.  Janae was born several weeks premature and since then has been totally dependent on her mother.  A subsequent lawsuit was filed against Doctor Raju where the Supreme Court ruled that he had been negligent.  A reward of two and a half million dollars was ordered, which Raju later appealed.  The matter was then elevated to the CCJ which upheld the ruling against him.  Since the judgment back in April, Janae’s mother, Georgia, has made several attempts to collect on her behalf but claims that she is being given the runaround by government.  Today, along with attorney Fred Lumor, they held a brief press conference.

 

Fred Lumor, Attorney for Janae Matute

“As you all know, it is not possible for me to crowfoot any property of the Government of Belize.  So the only thing I can do is to start another round of litigation this time taking a constitutional motion against the Government of Belize claiming that the refusal to pay the judgment debt is deprivation of property of the child and mother under the [Constitution of Belize] and that is going to take another three to four years or even more for that matter to be concluded.  So I can only use this medium to appeal to the Government of Belize to be sensitive and be responsible and take steps to fulfill their obligation to the child.  Mr. Hawke, the government lawyer, had mentioned to me numerous times that the government had indicated that the proper approach to this matter is to workout installation payments over a period of time and I readily agreed that the mother and the child would be better placed in that event.  In any event if you are not aware, any payment arrangement and any money to be disbursed to this child because a child is involved, the arrangement has to be approved by the Supreme Court.”

 

Georgia Matute

Georgia Matute, Mother of Janae Matute

“Mr. Joe Waight’s secretary got back to me and she said that he still needs some more clarity in respect to the payment and I’m like, “Why would he need more clarity and my attorney has written to him?”  What else do they need, you know?  And so, since then I haven’t heard back from them.  I haven’t been able to get an audience with him.  The prime minister’s secretary told me that normally the prime minister would call me personally, I haven’t gotten any call from him, I haven’t heard anything else and she, as well, promised that she would speak to Mr. Waight and so I’m still waiting.”

 

Fred Lumor

Fred Lumor

“The court decided that Doctor Raju was an employee of the Government of Belize therefore, any judgment awarded against Doctor Raju has to be paid by his employer, the Government of Belize.  But when Doctor Raju pursued an appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice alone, without his employer, the cost incurred in the Caribbean Court of Justice was ordered to be paid by Doctor Raju alone and we have not claimed that money against the Government of Belize.”

 

Reporter

“How much is that?”

 

Fred Lumor

“It is estimated between one hundred and twenty thousand and one hundred thousand [dollars].”

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