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March 29, 2012 Attorney Kevin Madison Comments Off on Study of Reported Misconduct of Physicians Shows Most Common Complaint is Inappropriate Communication Such as Sexual Misconduct

Study of Reported Misconduct of Physicians Shows Most Common Complaint is Inappropriate Communication Such as Sexual Misconduct

Medical Boards Discipline Physicians for Online Behavior

Author: Jenni Laidman

March 20, 2012 — Most medical licensing boards have received at least 1 complaint about unprofessional online behavior by physicians, and many of these complaints resulted in serious disciplinary actions, including license revocation, according to a research letter published in the March 21 issue of JAMA.

S. Ryan Greysen, MD, from the Division of Hospital Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues report that 48 (71%) of the 68 executive directors of medical licensing boards responded to the study survey. Of those, 44 (92%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 86% – 98%) indicated receiving at least 1 complaint about an online professional breach.

The most common complaints reported inappropriate communication with a patient, such as sexual misconduct, which was reported to 33 (69%) of 48 boards (95% CI, 58% – 80%); inappropriate practice, such as Internet prescribing without an established clinical relationship, reported to 30 (63%) of 48 boards (95% CI, 52% – 74%); and online misrepresentation of credentials, reported to 29 (60%) of 48 boards (95% CI, 48% – 72%). Thirty-one boards indicated that reports were made by patients or their families (31/48; 65%), and 24 (50%) of 48 boards said other physicians made the complaint.

A New Way to Violate Our Standards

“We’ve just found a new way to violate our own standards,” Jason Jent, PhD, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, Division of Clinical Psychology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Florida, said to Medscape Medical News. Dr. Jent, who has published about physician online behavior, has no association with the JAMA letter. “Some of the violations we’ve seen in face-to-face communication, or over the phone, or by mail have now extended to online behavior. This is something we have to pay attention to,” he added.

The study authors say much the same: “Furthermore, these violations also may be important online manifestations of serious and common violations offline, including substance abuse, sexual misconduct, and abuse of prescription privileges.”

Thanks to author: Jenni Laidman

CRIME VICTIM RIGHTS LAWS

I would like to address “Crime Victim Rights” laws that most states now have. These statutes mandate that crime victims have certain rights that prosecutors must follow. Some of these rights include the right of a crime victim to confront their assailant in court; to have a separate waiting room when appearing in court; to prepare and have the Court consider a victim impact statement before sentencing the defendant; the right to be notified of all court hearings and trial date; and the right to have input on plea bargains the prosecutors offer the criminal defendant.

When I initiate civil litigation against a perpetrator I send a “Crime Victim Rights” letter to the District Attorney who is prosecuting the victim’s criminal case. In Texas, the prosecutors (District Attorneys or County Attorneys) are duty bound to follow the mandates of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure that govern crime victim’s rights. Whether or not a crime victim decides to pursue a civil action claim against the perpetrator, I would wholly encourage crime victim caseworkers and crime victim advocates to consider sending the prosecuting attorney a “Crime Victim Rights” letter. This letter lets the Office of the Prosecutor know that the crime victim is invoking her rights under the Act.

 The Crime Victim Rights letter invokes the rights of the victim to be advised of any plea bargain agreements between the Prosecutor’s Office and the offender and also invokes the right of the victim to make a crime victim impact statement that the Court may review before imposing sentencing in the criminal case. A sample “Crime Victim Rights” letter can be found in downloadable format (Microsoft Word) from my law firm website at www.kevinmadison.com. This letter was designed to be used in Texas. However, you can probably modify this form letter to fit the applicable crime victim rights law in your state.

Kevin Madison is an Austin-based attorney with over 29 years litigation experience and 25 years of experience as a judge. He is also a trained Sexual Assault Crime Victim Advocate.  He was the first attorney in Austin to file a civil lawsuit against a rapist and obtained a $1.5 million judgment in 1987. His experience and training as a police officer, police chief, prosecutor and EMT set him apart from most other personal injury attorneys as an advocate for victim rights in the civil justice system. To learn more about Kevin Madison or civil remedies available to victims of sexual assault, visit www.KevinMadison.com or call (512) 708-1650.

February 17, 2012 Attorney Kevin Madison Comments Off on $20 Million Award for Rape Victim Against Houston Apartment Complex

$20 Million Award for Rape Victim Against Houston Apartment Complex

A Harris County jury awarded $20 million in damages Wednesday to a rape victim who sued her apartment complex for failing to notify residents about previous sexual attacks on the property. The woman lived at The Promenade Cullen Park when a masked man who resided in the west Houston complex raped and sodomized her for more than 10 hours in February 2009. The Houston Chronicle does not identify victims of sexual assault. According to the lawsuit, apartment officials knew about a break-in next door to the woman’s unit a few weeks before her ordeal in which a man tried to rape that resident and failed to notify other tenants about a sexual predator. The woman who filed suit lived alone and renewed her lease shortly after the earlier incident without being told about its severity, said Troy Chandler, a lawyer on the Williams Kherkher team who represented the woman.

“The apartment complex issued a notice that an apartment had been broken into – the same warning that they would send out if a bicycle was stolen off a balcony or a TV was stolen out of an apartment,” Chandler said. “The notice failed to mention that a burglary occurred, that the assailant waited inside, that a tenant was attacked and that there had been an attempted rape.” The lawsuit, filed in June 2010, sought damages for negligence and deceptive trade practices. The woman continues to  suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, Chandler said. After a weeklong trial, the jury awarded $7 million for physical pain and mental anguish, $5 million for future mental anguish and $8 million for conduct forbidden by the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The verdict comes one day before the three-year anniversary of the attack. “She wanted the apartment complex to change their notification policy,” Chandler said. “Her goal is to make sure that another person does not suffer and she wanted a jury to acknowledge what (apartment officials) did was wrong.” Chandler said he expects the defendant to appeal the verdict. Neither lawyers representing the apartment company nor a spokesperson for the Thompson Coe law firm could be reached for comment late Wednesday. Police, on notice about a possible serial rapist, arrested Darryl Anthony Martin shortly after the woman’s attacker fled and she called 911. Martin, now 24, pleaded guilty to sexual assault in 2010 and was sentenced to 20 years in state prison.

February 11, 2012 Attorney Kevin Madison Comments Off on Weatherford, Texas Air Conditioning Company Settles Sexual Discrimination Lawsuit with EEOC

Weatherford, Texas Air Conditioning Company Settles Sexual Discrimination Lawsuit with EEOC

A Weatherford company has settled a sexual discrimination lawsuit with the federal government after a woman complained of crude comments, unwanted touching and a manager who exposed himself to her, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Hobson Air Conditioning settled a sexual-harassment and constructive-discharge lawsuit brought by the commission the day before the case was to be presented to a jury, the commission said Thursday. The settlement pays the woman $37,500 and imposes extensive conditions on Hobson.

Attorney Trey Harris of Fort Worth, who represents Hobson, said that the company admitted no wrongdoing and that the amount was about 20 percent of “what their best offer was in mediation.”  “It is my opinion that the plaintiff’s evidence was quite weak,” he said. “Hobson is committed to an environment free of any kind of sexual harassment. They always have been. Hobson is a family business.”

The woman, a former Hobson installation coordinator, was the only female employee at its Kennedale facility. According to the commission, her manager subjected her to sexually vulgar comments and touches soon after she was hired, including repeatedly asking her to show him her breasts, making crude sexual demands of her “and even exposing himself to her on multiple occasions.” The woman reported the harassment to higher management, but nothing was done to stop the behavior or discipline the manager, the commission said. The company did not investigate her report, the behavior continued and the woman “had no choice but to quit,” the commission said. Constructive discharge, in employment law, refers to situations where an employee has no choice but to resign because the employer’s actions have become so intolerable.

“To have a manager subject a subordinate employee to such mistreatment has the potential to establish the acceptance of such behavior in the workplace,” commission lawyer Devika Seth said. “We hope this settlement shows that there will be accountability when such an abuse of power occurs.”  Harris said that the conduct was supposed to have occurred in 2008 and that the manager is no longer with Hobson.  In the settlement, Hobson also agreed to:

  • Revise its sexual harassment policy and procedures to provide multiple avenues for reporting harassment.
  • Conduct annual training for five years on the laws against sexual harassment and the proper procedure for investigating complaints.
  • Report to the commission any complaints of sexual harassment for the next five years and post an anti-discrimination notice.
  • Place in the ex-manager’s personnel file a notice reflecting the complaint.
February 10, 2012 Attorney Kevin Madison Comments Off on Justice for crime victims IN THE UNITED STATES: CIVIL TORT CLAIMS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT AND SEXUAL EXPLOITATION ©- Part 3

Justice for crime victims IN THE UNITED STATES: CIVIL TORT CLAIMS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT AND SEXUAL EXPLOITATION ©- Part 3

Justice for crime victims IN THE UNITED STATES: CIVIL TORT CLAIMS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT AND SEXUAL EXPLOITATION ©- Part 3

             A civil judgment obtained against a sexual or physical predator who “willfully and maliciously” assaults another cannot be discharged by the defendant if he files for federal bankruptcy court protection, like other debts can. This federal bankruptcy law applies to all bankruptcy courts throughout the United States. If a crime victim is able to obtain a civil judgment against a criminal predator for physical assault, or sexual assault, sexual exploitation, or sexual harassment, and there is a court finding that the acts were intentional and malicious, that judgment cannot be discharged or dissolved by a bankruptcy court.

Kevin Madison is an Austin-based attorney with over 29 years litigation experience and 25 years of experience as a judge. He is also a trained Sexual Assault Crime Victim Advocate.  He was the first attorney in Austin to file a civil lawsuit against a rapist and obtained a $1.5 million judgment in 1987. His experience and training as a police officer, police chief, prosecutor and EMT set him apart from most other personal injury attorneys as an advocate for victim rights in the civil justice system. To learn more about Kevin Madison or civil remedies available to victims of sexual assault, visit www.KevinMadison.com or call (512) 708-1650.

 

January 20, 2012 Attorney Kevin Madison Comments Off on Walt Disney Company was hit with a sexual-assault lawsuit Tuesday

Walt Disney Company was hit with a sexual-assault lawsuit Tuesday

The Walt Disney Company was served with a sexual-assault lawsuit Tuesday, by a woman who claimed she was spanked against her will and kissed inappropriately during a taping of the Disney Channel’s “Good Luck Charlie.”

The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Plaintiff Kellie Rodriguez. Rodriguez states in her lawsuit that she attended a taping of the kids’ sitcom “Good Luck Charlie” with her children, her sister-in-law and her sister-in-law’s daughters in December of 2011. But instead of a wholesome, family-friendly experience, Rodriguez says that she was subjected to leering and sexual misconduct at the eyes, hands and mouth of crowd entertainer Ron Pearson.

Rodriguez claims that the ordeal began when she went to use the restroom and noticed Pearson “looking up and down Plaintiff’s body in a lewd manner,” the lawsuit says. Things went from “ewww” to worse when, according to Rodriguez, she was chosen by Pearson, along with two other audience members, to take the stage and participate in a contest that involved doing a “silly dance” to the Village People chestnut “YMCA.”

But what happened next was anything but silly, Rodriguez claims. According to suit, during the “silly dance,” Pearson began spanking Rodriguez while her back was turned to him.

“This unwarranted and unconsented spanking was relentless, and did not cease until Plaintiff physically turned around to stop it,” her lawsuit alleges. Rodriguez claims that after the contest was over Defendant Pearson asked her for a kiss on the cheek. “Being a good sport,” she says that she consented, but when she went in to give him the peck, Pearson “turned his face and kissed Plaintiff fully on the mouth.”

January 19, 2012 Attorney Kevin Madison Comments Off on Lawsuit against Casket Company Improperly Using School Logos

Lawsuit against Casket Company Improperly Using School Logos

A Georgia company that has licensing contracts with the University of Oklahoma has filed a lawsuit against a casket company that is using the OU logo on caskets. The lawsuit claims the casket company is “improperly using university logos.” The lawsuit is seeking $75,000 in damages. Staff Report, NewsOK.com

January 18, 2012 Attorney Kevin Madison Comments Off on American Red Cross Cited by FDA for Blood-Safety Rule Violations

American Red Cross Cited by FDA for Blood-Safety Rule Violations

Blumberg news reported that the American Red Cross failed to correct violations of blood-safety rules, raising the risk that ill-suited blood will be used in transfusions, U.S. regulators said. The FDA fined the Red Cross $9.59 million, according to a letter from the agency to the Red Cross made public on Jan. 13. The organization has been cited 14 times since 2003 and fined about $46 million for similar offenses. The Red Cross didn’t ensure that all staff had adequate blood-safety training and hasn’t created a complete list of prospective donors who were disqualified from giving blood, according to the letter. The Washington-based consumer group Public Citizen this month urged the agency to levy sanctions.

January 7, 2012 Attorney Kevin Madison Comments Off on JUSTICE FOR CRIME VICTIMS IN THE UNITED STATES: CIVIL TORT CLAIMS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT AND SEXUAL EXPLOITATION ©- PART 2

JUSTICE FOR CRIME VICTIMS IN THE UNITED STATES: CIVIL TORT CLAIMS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT AND SEXUAL EXPLOITATION ©- PART 2

Before a victim of a sexual assault, physical assault or victim of a sexual exploitation decides to pursue their assailant in a civil court of law, they should have a detailed conference with an attorney who is well-versed in crime victim law and inadequate security litigation.  Crime victim cases are much different than simple automobile collision injury cases. Most “personal injury” lawyers are not experienced nor do they have the training or experience to properly investigate these “quasi-criminal” cases. The truth is that most attorneys do not understand how to prosecute these “crime victim” cases. There are only a handful of lawyers in the United States who understand how to try crime victim and sexual exploitation cases and who are sensitive to the emotional and physical trauma that these victims suffer. Lawyers, like me, who have a background in law enforcement and criminal prosecution, usually have more experience in how to handle these civil tort cases that civil attorneys.

Meeting with an experienced attorney can help the crime victim understand the process through the civil justice system, determine whether there is a viable cause of action, and most importantly, whether there is a reasonable chance of actually recovering money damages against a perpetrator. An experienced attorney should be able to discuss applicable statutes of limitation, which bar civil lawsuits from being pursued if a plaintiff delays too long after the cause of action accrues. Most states have limitation periods on civil and criminal actions. These periods of time are referred to as “Statutes of Limitation.” They govern the amount of time that can pass before a crime or civil action can be prosecuted. For example, personal injury car accident cases in Texas must be filed within two years from the date of the offense. However, sexual assault cases in Texas have a five year limitation period.

It is important to note that when dealing with cases involving children, most states’ limitation periods do not begin to run until the child turns 18 years of age and becomes a legal adult. This is true in Texas. If the sexual assault was committed against a child, in Texas, that child’s five year limitation clock does not begin to run until they turn 18 years of age-the age of adulthood. Thus, they would be able to pursue a claim against the perpetrator until their 23rd birthday. Some states also stop the limitation period clock if the perpetrator left the state where the offense occurred. The clock doesn’t start running until the perpetrator returns to the state.

Texas, like several other states, has a specific statute that makes it illegal for mental health professional (therapists, family counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and clergy) providers to have sexual relations with their clients. This was in response to the growing number of cases involving doctors, psychiatrists, family counselors, and clergy violating their positions of trust in the community, crossing boundaries, and sexually exploiting their patients and clients. These cases include sexual assault and consensual sexual relations between therapist/doctor and patient and may include exploitation of former patients.

Kevin Madison is an Austin-based attorney with over 29 years litigation experience and 25 years of experience as a judge. He is also a trained Sexual Assault Crime Victim Advocate.  He was the first attorney in Austin to file a civil lawsuit against a rapist and obtained a $1.5 million judgment in 1987. His experience and training as a police officer, police chief, prosecutor and EMT set him apart from most other personal injury attorneys as an advocate for victim rights in the civil justice system. To learn more about Kevin Madison or civil remedies available to victims of sexual assault, visit www.KevinMadison.com or call (512) 708-1650.

December 23, 2011 Attorney Kevin Madison Comments Off on JUSTICE FOR CRIME VICTIMS IN THE UNITED STATES: CIVIL TORT CLAIMS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT AND SEXUAL EXPLOITATION ©

JUSTICE FOR CRIME VICTIMS IN THE UNITED STATES: CIVIL TORT CLAIMS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT AND SEXUAL EXPLOITATION ©

JUSTICE FOR CRIME VICTIMS IN THE UNITED STATES: CIVIL TORT CLAIMS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT AND SEXUAL EXPLOITATION ©

There is a movement gaining momentum across the United States to seek redress for physical assaults and sexual assaults in civil courts. Although we are all too familiar with the criminal justice system as “the” system of redress for victims of sexual assaults, many victims remain unaware that they may have a viable cause of action for monetary (money) damages against sexual predators in the civil justice court system. These civil actions are becoming more common in courts throughout the U.S.

Any criminal action committed against a person can not only be prosecuted in criminal court but most states allow these intentional assaults (“torts”) to be prosecuted as a civil cause of action in the civil court justice system. Physical assaults, sexual assaults, sexual exploitation by doctors, therapists, and church officials, illegally photographing and videotaping persons in a state of undress, and date rape can result in a civil verdict against these predators resulting in an award of monetary damages to the victim. In addition to compensating crime victims for their “actual damages” which may include medical bills, mental health counseling bills, and reimbursement for lost wages, civil court juries in most states can award “punitive” (exemplary) damages against criminal predators as a punishment to deter others from committing these illegal and despicable acts.

Why should anyone file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator of a sexual assault? There are several answers to this question. I think, foremost, that by initiating civil litigation against a perpetrator, a crime victim can help regain their sense of control over their environment. Sexual and physical assaults usually leave emotional scars that result in a victim feeling a loss of control over their lives. If a crime victim can move from an inactive and passive state of “victim” to a more active and assertive state of “survivor” they may be able to regain a feeling of independence and control over their own life again. This may be the most compelling of all reasons for pursuing civil litigation against a perpetrator.

Other reasons for pursuing civil litigation against predators include, but are not limited to: (1) exposing individuals who commit these crimes to the public through media coverage and press releases (local news media are most interested in these cases); (2) seeking money damages to assist the victim in obtaining medical and psychological counseling; (3) documenting sexual harassment, assaults, and acts of sexual deviants in the civil court system where they remain on file, in perpetuity.

Kevin Madison is an Austin-based attorney with over 29 years litigation experience and 25 years experience as a judge. He is also a trained Sexual Assault Crime Victim Advocate.  He was the first attorney in Austin to file a civil lawsuit against a rapist and obtained a $1.5 million judgment in 1987. His experience and training as a police officer, police chief, prosecutor and EMT set him apart from most other personal injury attorneys as an advocate for victim rights in the civil justice system. To learn more about Kevin Madison or civil remedies available to victims of sexual assault, visit www.KevinMadison.com or call (512) 708-1650.

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