PATIENTS ALLEGE SANTA MONICA AREA PHYSICIAN ENGAGED IN INAPPROPRIATE CONDUCT DURING BREAST EXAMS
Two Former Patients of Dr. Lawrence H. Resnick Allege that Their HMO referred them to Dr. Resnick Despite Knowing of Alleged Propensity
June 8, 2011: Today, two former patients of Dr. Lawrence H. Resnick filed a lawsuit against the Santa Monica-based physician and his clinic, the Woman’s Breast Center, alleging that he engaged in inappropriate, unprofessional and offensive conduct during breast examinations. The patients, Angela Crickman and Lisa Grebe, also asserted claims against their HMO, Bay Area Community Medical Group (“Bay Area”), alleging that Bay Area referred them to Dr. Resnick despite knowing that he had a pattern, practice and/or history of engaging in such conduct. Among other things, they allege that Bay Area had received complaints from other female patients and that Bay Area knew, or should have known, that Dr. Resnick had been sanctioned by the Medical Board of the State of California for engaging in unprofessional conduct during a breast examination. See http://www.medbd.ca.gov/publications/hotsheet_2008_01.pdf http://www.medbd.ca.gov/publications/hotsheet_2008_01.pdf).Ms. Crickman (but not Ms. Grebe) has also asserted a claim against her primary health care provider, Peak Medical Group, Inc. (“Peak Health”), for allegedly referring her to Dr. Resnick despite knowing of his propensity to engage in inappropriate conduct during breast examinations. Bay Area has since been acquired by UCLA Health Systems.
In the Complaint, which was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court (Case No. BC463109), Ms. Crickman alleges, among other things, that Dr. Resnick was flirtatious and suggestive, and made numerous inappropriate comments about her physical appearance, while he conducted an ultrasound examination of her breasts. Ms. Grebe similarly alleges that Dr. Resnick engaged in sexually offensive, flirtations and suggestive conduct toward her while performing an examination. She also alleges that he kissed her on the cheek.
In their Complaint, Ms. Crickman and Ms. Grebe assert claims for sexual harassment by a physician in violation of California Civil Code Sections 51.9 and 52, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence. They have also asserted claims (by Ms. Crickman against Bay Area and Peak Health; by Ms. Grebe against Bay Area) that defendants violated the California Unruh Act, alleging that the defendants failed to provide or apply the same level of scrutiny to physicians to whom they referred their female patients as they did to those to whom they referred their male patients.
Commenting about these allegations, plaintiffs’ attorney, Gregory D. Helmer of Helmer • Friedman, LLP, said, “In the fight against breast cancer, it is well known that early detection and diagnosis is critically important. While these are allegations at this point, it is obviously critical that there be nothing – including the conduct of a physician – that might discourage patients from seeking diagnostic examinations.”
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Kenneth A. Helmer (email@example.com)
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