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ARTICLE ID 187247

$________ INCLUDING $________ PUNITIVE DAMAGE AWARD AGAINST HOSPITAL Negligent Supervision – Female plaintiff patient is sexually assaulted by hospital’s certified nursing assistants – Negligence in retaining employee following past complaints – Severe emotional distress – Lost wages.

Los Angeles County, CA

In this negligent supervision matter, the plaintiff alleged that while a patient at the defendant hospital she was sexually assaulted by one of the defendant’s employees. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant was aware of past complaints against the employee, yet took no action. The plaintiff alleged severe emotional distress and lost wages as a result of the incident. The defendant maintained that it had investigated the only other complaint which was dismissed for lack of evidence of wrongdoing. The defendant disputed the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and damages.

The 30-year-old female plaintiff was a patient at the defendant hospital on April 7 ________ for a surgical procedure to remove an ovarian cyst. The plaintiff alleged that while in the hospital, she was sexually assaulted by the defendant’s male certified nursing assistant who digitally penetrated her vagina. The plaintiff reported the sexual assault to the police department the next day. The police investigation determined that there were approximately ten other victims who were also assaulted by the same employee and who stepped forward. Five of those ten additional victims testified at the time of the trial that they had also been assaulted by the defendant’s employee. The employee was arrested for assault, but has fled the country.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant hospital was aware of at least five similar incidents over the course of 16 months prior to the plaintiff’s incident, yet did not fire or take any action against the employee. The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant hospital and the healthcare company alleging that they were negligent in failing to properly supervise their employees and in failing to fire the employee upon the prior complaints of inappropriate behavior and sexual assault. The plaintiff contended that in failing to take any action the defendants ratified the employee’s sexual assault.

The plaintiff alleged that she sustained severe emotional distress as a result of the incident and was unable to return to her job as a counselor. The plaintiff sought punitive damages against the defendants. The plaintiff alleged $________ in medical bills and $________ in lost wages.

The defendants denied the allegations. The defendants disputed the plaintiff’s allegations of multiple prior incidents and maintained that there was only one prior incident. That incident was fully investigated and no wrongdoing was found on the part of the employee. Further, the defendants contended that upon learning of the plaintiff’s assault, the employee was immediately terminated and the defendants could in no way be considered as ratifying the assailant’s conduct. Further, as to damages, the defendants contended that the entire incidents lasted only seconds and that the plaintiff suffered from psychological issues prior to this incident and her psychological damage was not causally related, nor was her inability to work following the incident.

The plaintiff had demanded $________ and the last offer from the defendants was $________ one month prior to trial.The matter was tried. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants. The jury awarded the sum of $________ in compensatory damages against both defendants and also awarded the sum of $________ in punitive damages against the hospital.

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