Features — 10 January 2014 — by Adele Ramos
CCJ to hear case of Janae Matute in February 2014

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has indicated that it intends to hear the appeal of Georgia Matute and Janae Matute against Dr. Raju Meenavalli at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, February 10, 2014, at the seat of the court in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Matutes had won the $2.13 million lawsuit in 2012, after an appeal of a 2010 decision by the Supreme Court of Belize.

Meenavalli is accused of having miscalculated the stage of the mother’s pregnancy, and so Janae was delivered at 36 weeks via C-section. Janae, currently a student at Belmopan Comprehensive High School, was born in 2000 with lung problems and developed a lifelong disability known as cerebral palsy. She is now 13.

Her mom, Georgia Matute, had told us in 2012 that although Janae goes to school, she has to personally do a lot for her: The teenager has to be fed, clothed and bathed.

As we reported last April, the Belize Court of Appeal had upheld a ruling in favor of Janae, awarding her and her mother $2.13 million in damages, a reduction in the $2.5 million that the Supreme Court had awarded back in 2010.

Beyond arguing that the award in damages is excessive, Meenavali’s case before the CCJ categorically denies the allegation of medical malpractice.

Fred Lumor, SC, is the attorney for the Matutes. He has said that the Matutes have not received any payments towards the damages awarded by the courts here in Belize.

In addition to awarding damages for Janae, the court had awarded $600,000 for lost wages, pain and suffering, and travel and medical expenses, to the mother, who had quit her job to take care of her child.

The court had also awarded Janae for future earnings, pain and suffering, loss of amenities, equipment, three vehicles in her lifetime, future accommodation, special education and a caregiver.

The matter will now be left in the hands of the CCJ to decide on the appeal filed in 2012 by Dr. Raju’s attorney, Godfrey Smith, SC.

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