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Facility Faces 3rd Suit Over Sexual Abuse

November 28, 2002|Richard Fausset | Times Staff Writer

A West Hills psychiatric hospital is confronting its third negligence lawsuit in two years stemming from allegations of inappropriate sex encounters between employees and patients.

But the plaintiff's attorney, David Ring, learned Wednesday that the lawsuit has been stayed indefinitely because Pine Grove Hospital's parent company, Arizona-based Doctors Community Healthcare Corp., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month. Another lawsuit against the hospital that Ring is also handling has also been stayed.

Doctors Community additionally owns Pacifica Hospital in Sun Valley. Officials for both Pacifica and Pine Grove said that the hospitals' operations will not be affected as the company reorganizes its debts.

Pine Grove and Doctors Community were named in a civil complaint filed Wednesday by Ring on behalf of a 15-year-old girl who had sex with a former hospital employee after she was released from the facility.

Ring filed a similar lawsuit on behalf of a 13-year-old girl earlier this year.

An adult patient who claims she was sexually assaulted by a patient filed another negligence lawsuit against the hospital and Doctors Community in March 2001. That case has been settled, according to court records.

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