Lieff Cabraser and Sauder Schelkopf LLC have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of women who were sexually assaulted and harassed during treatment by longtime Huntington Hospital ob/gyn Patrick Sutton. The complaint was filed by three women who allege assault and harassment by Sutton, and notes that the hospital had received numerous complaints about Sutton’s behavior dating back 20 years, yet continues to allow him to practice there. Dr. Sutton has worked at Huntington Hospital since 1989.
As detailed in the complaint, plaintiffs referred to as Jane Doe K.G. Jane Doe T.F., and Jane Doe B.S. allege that Sutton used his position of authority and trust to sexually abuse them and potentially thousands of other women who were patients of Dr. Sutton and Huntington Hospital.
“When I started seeing recent news reports about the doctor’s inappropriate treatment of other patients, I ultimately realized that standing up and speaking out is the only way to bring justice and give power to all the other women who were victimized, while at the same time forcing hospitals to put their patients first and stop harboring and even sheltering sexual predators,” said Jane Doe T.F.
The lawsuit further alleges that Huntington Hospital routinely disregarded complaints about Sutton’s behavior, complaints that date back to the 1990s, actively and deliberately concealing Sutton’s sexual abuse and continuing to grant him uncontrolled sexual access to female patients at the hospital, all to protect Huntington Hospital’s reputation and income stream.
“Medical institutions that recklessly place sexual predators in positions of trust and authority, empowering them with unfettered access and opportunity to molest patients, fully share the blame for the abuse and trauma that results,” notes Annika K. Martin, one of the Lieff Cabraser partners who filed the class action lawsuit. “What’s worse is when a trusted hospital follows up by burying complaints and covering up – a hospital should be protecting its patients, not sexual predators.”
As noted in the lawsuit, the plaintiffs and other class members had no reason to suspect that Sutton was anything other than an ethical and competent physician. Sutton used his position of trust and authority to prey on his patients by conducting improper and intrusive sexual touching as well as to make inappropriate and sexually harassing comments during exams.
“This is absolutely unacceptable conduct toward vulnerable, trusting patients in a medical setting,” states attorney Joe Sauder of Sauder Schelkopf, who also represents the plaintiffs. “Our clients have been empowered to speak about this abuse and mistreatment, and we look forward to making sure their voices will finally be heard.”
As alleged in the complaint, Huntington Hospital began to receive complaints about Sutton’s behavior in the late 1990s — complaints that continued for the next several decades. But the Hospital failed to take any action in response to the complaints, continuing to employ and even promote Sutton. The complaint further alleges that instead of taking disciplinary or other action such as terminating Sutton’s employment in response to the myriad complaints against him, Huntington continued to protect Sutton and continually provide him with full access to new and existing patients.
“Dr. Sutton should never have been allowed to continue as an OB-GYN for decades in the face of all the complaints,” stated Jane Doe K.G. “The hospital, some administrators, the state medical board, someone, should have stopped him from continuing to sexually harass and abuse his patients. I hope that my role in this case will provide me and other patients with some closure.”
Read more information or contact Ms. Martin confidentially and securely about the case or your experiences with Dr. Sutton and Huntington Hospital.
About Sauder Schelkopf LLC
Sauder Schelkopf LLC is a nationally recognized class action and personal injury law firm. The firm’s partners have been selected by the National Trial Lawyers Association as some of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Pennsylvania since 2012. As former state prosecutors, the attorneys at Sauder Schelkopf have significant experience investigating and aggressively prosecuting hundreds of sexual assault cases on behalf of victims of all ages.
About Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
Recognized as “one of the nation’s premier plaintiffs’ firms” by The American Lawyer, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP is a seventy-plus attorney law firm with offices in San Francisco, New York, Nashville, and Seattle. Since our founding 46 years ago in 1972, Lieff Cabraser has litigated and resolved hundreds of class action lawsuits and thousands of individual cases, including the successful representation of thousands of women across America in class action lawsuits involving gender discrimination and in individual lawsuits due to the injuries they suffered from defective medical devices and defective prescription drugs.
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
Annika K. Martin, 415-956-1000
Sauder Schelkopf LLC
Joseph G. Sauder, 888-711-9975