Dr. Broadbent Lawsuit Dismissed – Pursuing Justice for Sexual Abuse by Doctors
February 23, 2023
In October 2022, Utah 4th District Judge Robert C. Lunnen dismissed a lawsuit filed by almost 100 women against Provo OB-GYN David H. Broadbent, who was accused of allegedly committing sexual assault against those women while receiving medical care from Broadbent. Although the women are appealing the ruling to the Utah Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear the case, it may be hard for some of the survivors to ultimately seek justice, based on a complicated determination of what sort of legal action the Dr. Broadbent lawsuit falls under.
In the lawsuit, the women claimed they were sexually assaulted while getting medical care from Dr. Broadbent and that he made insensitive, offensive, and inappropriate comments as he examined them, according to local outlet KSL-TV. But the judge’s dismissal explained that, under Utah Code, legal action against a health care provider is considered medical malpractice, meaning the 4th District Court did not have jurisdiction over it.
Essentially, in this case, because the alleged abuser is a doctor, it has to be governed by medical malpractice rules instead of those that apply to cases of sexual assault, according to ProPublica in partnership with The Salt Lake Tribune.
The judge’s ruling means some of the victims have a shorter window of time in which to file, and certain survivors may lose out on suing Dr. Broadbent entirely.
Some advocates are working to modify state law involving these cases – like state Senator Mike McKell, a Utah County politician who is trying to change state law to make it so sexual assault lawsuits do not fall under Utah’s Health Care Malpractice Act.
And the Utah Supreme Court taking on the case could result in changes. But the Court could also rule that these alleged sexual assaults should legally be deemed as arising out of health care.
In that case, the women accusing Dr. Broadbent will likely refile their claims as a medical malpractice lawsuit, according to their attorney, Adam Sorensen. Sadly, the shorter filing window could result in fewer women being eligible to do so. Pain and suffering damages would also be capped at $450,000 under a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Broadbent’s attorney, Chris Nelson, did not agree to an interview request with ProPublica but wrote in an email: “We believe that the allegations against Dr. Broadbent are without merit and will present our case in court. Given that this is an active legal matter, we will not be sharing any details outside the courtroom.”
But Dr. Broadbent is far from the only doctor accused of sexual abuse against patients. One recent example is that of Dr. Robert Hadden; the case against him resulted in a $165 million settlement between 147 patients of the former gynecologist, who was accused of allegedly assaulting dozens of patients.
If you were the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a doctor, there may be legal avenues you can pursue. A good legal team can treat your case with sensitivity and discretion and determine, despite complicated laws like the ones impacting the Dr. Broadbent lawsuit, what you can do to seek justice.
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