Eye surgeon David Kitchen
Eye surgeon David Kitchen

Eye doctor appeals $10m court ruling

A CENTRAL Queensland ophthalmologist who was ordered to pay more than $10 million in compensation after a court ruled he breached a service agreement has appealed against the decision.

The Brisbane Supreme Court, in a judgment handed down last month, ordered Dr David Kitchen compensate Vision Eye Institute to the tune of $10,845,476 after it ruled he had broken a service agreement in place between the two parties.

The court heard Dr Kitchen, who worked at Rockhampton, Gladstone, Mackay and Bundaberg, agreed to stay with Vision for at least five years after it purchased his existing practices for a reported $22 million.

However, the court heard that three years into the agreement Dr Kitchen left to start his own practices in Rockhampton and Gladstone, claiming Vision had breached the agreement.

The court heard Vision's claim they it was forced to close their Gladstone and Rockhampton clinics as a result of Dr Kitchen's decision to walk away from the 2006 agreement.

But the leading ophthalmologist is looking to get the decision overturned after his legal team lodged an appeal in the Brisbane Supreme Court on May 19.

The documents, which APN Newsdesk has viewed, set out the grounds of the appeal which includes the trial judge erred in failing to hold Vision accountable over Dr Kitchen's claims it breached four aspects of the agreement:

The judge erred in concluding Vision had not contravened the agreement despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary and erred again in awarding compensation.

The claim said the judge erred in awarding damages in respect of lost earnings from the Rockhampton clinic and assessing the compensational loss and damage arising from the Gladstone practice.

The judge erred in failing to find Vision engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct.

Dr Kitchen is seeking to have the appeal allowed with costs, the initial orders made on April 21 set aside and the claim dismissed.

Furthermore, Dr Kitchen is seeking there be a judgment made in his favour for an amount to be assessed and an order made that he acted lawfully when he terminated the service agreement on September 10, 2009.

The Queensland Court of Appeal will hear the matter at a date yet to be announced.


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