Eye surgeon Dr Thomas Eshun-Wilson in 2007.
Eye surgeon Dr Thomas Eshun-Wilson in 2007. File

Eye surgeon to pay $1m damages

AN EYE surgeon has been ordered to pay more than a million dollars in damages and costs for a breach of contract that forced two Fraser Coast eye clinics to close.

Ophthalmologist Dr Thomas Eshun-Wilson was working for the Vision Eye Institute clinics in Maryborough and Hervey Bay when he had a dispute with the company and quit before his contract had expired.

His resignation on April 16 last year led to the closure of both clinics, as the company could not find a replacement ophthalmologist.

Parent company Vision Group Holdings Limited sued Dr Eshun-Wilson for breach of contract, and the doctor counter-sued for a payment he believed he was due.

According to the company, Dr Eshun-Wilson also breached an agreement that he would not work for a competing organisation in the area, when he started his own eye clinics in Hervey Bay and Bundaberg.

After the case proceeded to the Queensland Supreme Court in October last year, Dr Eshun-Wilson was ordered in a summary judgment to pay the company $424,850 plus costs and interest for an outstanding loan he had with Vision Group.

Another hearing was set down in the Supreme Court for mid-June in order to finalise the damages case, but this week the company announced it had reached an out-of-court settlement.

“As a result of a mediated settlement agreement, Dr Eshun-Wilson will pay the company $750,000 through 72 monthly instalments of $10,417 in respect of its damages claim,” a Vision Group spokesperson said.

“Furthermore the company will not make any payment to Dr Eshun-Wilson in respect of (his counter-claim).

“The company is pleased to have achieved these outcomes which it considers reinforces the enforceability of its doctor contracts.”

Vision Group chief executive officer Geoff Thompson said he could not comment on the specifics of the case due to confidentiality agreements.

However, he said both the Maryborough and Hervey Bay branches of the Vision Eye Institutes remained closed.

“The patients were all diverted to other eye specialists,” Mr Thompson said.

Dr Eshun-Wilson declined to comment on the settlement.