From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
Aug. 10 — A neurosurgeon sexually harassed a surgical technologist by telling her she had a “tight ass” and asking whether she wanted to see his penis, an Oregon jury finds, awarding her about $1.4 million in damages, according to court documents ( H.K. v. Spine Surgery Ctr. of Eugene, LLC , Or. Cir. Ct., No. 15CV04913, verdict 8/9/16 ).
The Aug. 9 verdict's deterrent effect may be limited, Mark McDougal, an attorney for plaintiff Chere Bergstrom, told Bloomberg BNA Aug. 10. “At hospitals, this kind of sexual misconduct by doctors toward staff is quite common,” McDougal said. “Nobody tells them what to do. They're their own bosses.”
Bergstrom said Glenn Keiper Jr. asked her during surgery if she knew how to have multiple orgasms. He said they “had 18 years of sexual tension and should just get down on the floor and take care of it,” according to the complaint.
McDougal said he thinks testimony by the witnesses that Keiper called on his behalf tipped the 12-member jury against him. “It was quite clear they didn’t want to be there,” McDougal said. The witnesses either worked for Keiper or had a professional relationship with him, McDougal said.
In a recorded deposition McDougal said was played for the jury, Keiper said he previously had been accused of sexual harassment. A medical assistant said he told her, “I want to ‘do you' from behind and break your pelvis (while pulling her hair from behind),” according to a record of a state employment civil rights agency's investigation.
After a four-day trial before Judge Suzanne Chanti in the Circuit Court of Oregon, the jury awarded $21,160 in economic damages, $615,000 in noneconomic damages and $800,000 in punitive damages for violations of Oregon's sex discrimination and tort laws. But this amount might be reduced, McDougal said.
A damages cap was passed 20 years ago that was struck down shortly thereafter, but reinstated as to public entities, McDougal said. McDougal said he's worried the cap may be applied to cases involving private entities, as well, however.
“We’re all in limbo as to whether there’s a $500,000 noneconomic damages cap,” McDougal said.
Keiper's attorney wasn't available to comment Aug. 10.
McDougal, Greg Kafoury and Jason Kafoury of Kafoury & McDougal in Portland, Ore., represented Bergstrom. Dennis Purcell of Arnold Gallagher P.C. in Eugene, Ore., represented Keiper.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jon Steingart in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at email@example.com
The verdict form is available at http://src.bna.com/hCQ.
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)