Woman sued for $3m by man she rejected counterclaims for $1,475, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Woman sued for $3m by man she rejected counterclaims for $1,475

A woman who rejected a romantic relationship with the chief executive of a drone-racing company installed safety devices at her home after he showed up there to serve her court papers for a $3 million defamation suit.

Ms Nora Tan countersued Mr K. Kawshigan, claiming $474.89 for the digital door viewer, alarm sensor and video doorbell, as well as about $1,000 for expenses she incurred in participating in his counselling and “healing” sessions for 1½ years.

Ms Tan, a sustainability manager, is also claiming an unspecified sum for her own counselling sessions.

Mr Kawshigan, however, contended that her act of calling the police while he was outside her flat amounted to defamatory conduct.

The D1 Racing CEO, who is representing himself in court, alleged in the High Court suit that at least seven other people overheard Ms Tan telling the police that she felt very harassed.

The legal dispute between Mr Kawshigan, 30, and Ms Tan, 34, was reported by The Straits Times on Tuesday after a magistrate’s court struck out a second claim he filed against her.

The separate claim sought $22,000 in damages from Ms Tan for allegedly breaching an agreement to improve their relationship.

In striking out the second legal action, deputy registrar Lewis Tan said it had been intentionally initiated by Mr Kawshigan “with the ulterior motive of vexing or oppressing the defendant by requiring her to defend various claims” and was a “calculated attempt to compel engagement” from her.

The court also ordered Mr Kawshigan to pay $14,000 in legal costs to Ms Tan.

Ms Tan and Mr Kawshigan met in 2016. In September 2020, problems arose 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 communications and meetings to be reduced, which displeased him.

On Oct 22 that year, he issued her a letter of demand, threatening legal action for “monetary damages arising from negligent infliction of emotional distress and possible defamation”.

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, she stopped the sessions as she felt they had become futile.

Following back-and-forth discussions on the steps to be taken to better align their relationship, Ms Tan decided on May 14, 2022, 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 the High Court claim seeking $3 million in damages.

According to court documents for this case, Mr Kawshigan alleged that Ms Tan engaged in defamatory conduct against him.

He claimed that she made false allegations verbally to him in the presence of others who overheard their conversations, and that she made false allegations in text messages that were seen by others.

He alleged that her refusal to make amends brought him “great anguish”.

The communications included a conversation in June 2019 while they were in a private-hire vehicle. Mr Kawshigan alleged it was overheard by the Grab driver.

Another conversation took place while they were in a cafe in September 2020. Mr Kawshigan alleged that at least three other people heard what Ms Tan said.

He also alleged that at least one person saw WhatsApp chat messages on Ms Tan’s phone between August and October 2020.

He took issue with her call to the police on July 8, 2022, while he was at her door, saying that she “verbally communicated over an amplified speaker”.

He claimed that e-mails containing screenshots of his WhatsApp conversations with Ms Tan were sent to his business associates, causing him to suffer “damage to his stellar reputation” as well as “trauma, depression and impacts” to his life.

He claimed that this caused him to lose business partnerships, potential investments and sponsorship contracts.

In her defence, Ms Tan, who is represented by Edmond Pereira Law Corporation, denied she had defamed him. She said her statements were fair comment and justified.

The matter is fixed for a pre-trial hearing next Thursday.

Ms Tan has obtained an expedited protection order against Mr Kawshigan, which is effective until the conclusion of her application for a long-term personal protection order. She has also lodged a magistrate’s complaint against him.

Separately, women’s advocacy group Aware weighed in on the case, saying that it painted “an alarming picture of male sexual and romantic entitlement”.

“Women do not owe men their time or attention, much less their friendship, love, sexual activity or emotional labour. Attempting to demand or coerce these things, via legal means or otherwise, can constitute harassment,” said a statement on its Facebook page.

Aware added that concepts such as the “friend zone” – which implies that women should by default be sexually attracted to the men in their lives – are part of this spectrum of male entitlement.