On March 16, 2020, the Honorable Otis D. Wright, U.S. District Judge for the Central District of California issued a ruling that the class action sexual abuse lawsuit filed by Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel on behalf of multiple Jane Doe plaintiffs and what are estimated to be thousands of class members against Pasadena’s Huntington Hospital and Dr. Patrick Sutton should move forward.
While dismissing some of the Doe plaintiffs’ sexual harassment and gender violence claims on procedural grounds, the Judge’s Order found sufficient grounds for the plaintiffs’ sexual assault, sexual battery, negligence, gross negligence, and punitive and exemplary damages claims, a subset of the sexual harassment and gender violence claims advanced by some of the Doe plaintiffs, and significantly, also upheld plaintiffs’ collective class action claims, and directed that the litigation should move forward to formal discovery and trial.
Earlier in the Case
On October 10, 2018, Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of women who were sexually abused, harassed, and molested by gynecologist Patrick Sutton, M.D., while they were patients at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, California.
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. Read a copy of the Class Action Complaint.
Nature of the Lawsuit
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.
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.
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.
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.
Charges Against Sutton and Huntington Hospital
The suit has been filed against Dr. Sutton, Huntington Hospital, and the Medical Staff of Huntington Hospital over charges including gender violence, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual harassment, negligence, negligent hiring, negligent supervision, and negligent failure to warn, train, or educate relating to the gynecological medical treatment received by the Plaintiffs and the class while they were patients at Huntington Hospital.
Contact a Sexual Abuse Lawyer at Lieff Cabraser
Lieff Cabraser partner Annika K. Martin is leading the litigation for our firm on behalf of women who suffered violence, abuse, and harassment by Patrick Sutton and Huntington Hospital. You can contact Annika by telephone at 415 956-1000 or you can use the confidential form below. There is no charge or obligation for your outreach, and all information will be held in the strictest confidence.