Articles Posted in Sexual Abuse and Assault

Published on:

A recent case that happened in Phoenix, Arizona shocked many people in California and around the world. The case involved a woman who has been in a vegetative state for years who gave birth. The woman’s case involves both potential criminal and civil liability issues. If it had occurred in California, there are a couple of potential causes of action that could apply.

Facts of the case

A 29-year-old woman who is a member of the San Carlos Apache tribe in Arizona suffered a near-drowning incident. She has been in a coma ever since for more than a decade. The woman has lived in a long-term care facility called Hacienda Health Care in Phoenix since that time. On Dec. 29, the woman gave birth to a baby despite the fact that she has never regained consciousness from her coma.

Published on:

sexual-abuse-attorney-los-angelesWhen people file civil lawsuits against entities, including churches, that might be responsible for sexual abuse that they have suffered, the organizations must comply with discovery rules. If they do not comply with discovery requests and orders, they may face sanctions. In J.W. v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York, Cal. Ct. App., Case No. E066555, the court reviewed whether terminating sanctions were appropriate in a case in which the defendant refused to turn over documents despite multiple court orders.

Factual and procedural background

J.W. is a female who was born in 1997. She was raised from birth in the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have an organizational hierarchy in which the Watchtower serves as the central power. Underneath the Watchtower, the church’s structure is divided into circuits, which are each composed of from 20 to 22 congregations. Each individual congregation is governed by a group of elders. The elders are responsible for managing all of the activities of the congregation, including door-to-door proselytizing, finances, and determining the guilt and punishment of individual members who commit serious sins.

Published on:

When lawsuits are filed by plaintiffs against hospitals in California, the hospitals may file motions for summary judgment if there are no triable material issues of fact. In order to prevail on a motion for summary judgment, a hospital may call an expert witness to opine that the hospital met the reasonable standard of care. If the expert’s testimony indicates that the reasonable standard of care was met, the burden of proof then shifts to the plaintiff to show that there are still material issues of triable fact. If the plaintiff is unable to present evidence that there are remaining issues of triable fact, the court may dismiss the lawsuit. However, as Doe v. Good Samaritan Hospital Inc., Cal. App. 5th, Case No. F073934 shows, the burden will not shift to the plaintiff in cases in which an expert’s testimony is purely conclusory without any underlying facts to support the opinion.

Factual background

The plaintiff was a 12-year-old boy who had a history of Asperger’s syndrome and bipolar disorder. He was voluntarily admitted to the Good Samaritan Hospital, a psychiatric facility, after suffering from homicidal and suicidal ideations because of his treatment at school. At the hospital, he was placed in a room with a 10-year-old boy who had been involuntarily committed called K.W. The 10-year-old boy had been placed in the facility on a psychiatric hold because of homicidal ideations and an assault on his stepfather that required medical treatment. He was also thought to be a danger to his two younger brothers.

Published on:

Uber-Sexual-Assault-LawsuitsWomen in cities across the U.S. have reported being sexually assaulted by Uber drivers after ordering rides through the company’s ride-share app. Two women filed a lawsuit against Uber in November 2017 for its alleged failure to conduct stringent background checks. Seven more women were added to the lawsuit as plaintiffs through an amendment. Uber has responded by filing a motion to compel arbitration of the women’s claims, an action that the women and their attorneys are fighting. When there is a forced arbitration clause contained in a user agreement, there are some situations in which the court may invalidate it and allow the cases to proceed through the court system instead of arbitration. (Note: for a general overview of California law on civil lawsuits for sexual assault, visit our related post here ).


In Nov. 2017, two women filed a lawsuit against Uber after they were sexually assaulted by Uber drivers. The lawsuit was certified as a class action because hundreds of women across the U.S. have allegedly been raped by Uber drivers. The women are suing Uber because the company allegedly has inadequate background screening systems in place for its drivers. Uber filed a motion with the court in February requesting that the court compel arbitration in the case. The plaintiffs filed an amendment to the complaint on March 15 in which seven women were added as plaintiffs. The women and their attorneys are fighting the motion to compel arbitration and want to keep the case in federal court.

Published on:

In California, residential care facilities owe a duty of care to their residents. In some cases, that duty extends to when the residents are off of the facility’s campus, depending on the circumstances. In Doe v. FamiliesFirst Inc., Sacramento Superior Court, case number 34-2014-00172564, how that duty applies when residents wander off of campus and are harmed was demonstrated.

Factual background of the case

EMQ FamiliesFirst was a residential care facility that provided educational services, housing and mental health to children between the ages of six and 15. The plaintiff was a child who lived in the home and received services. He was sexually assaulted when he wandered away from the facility.

Published on:

sexual abuse, sexual assault, California Attorney, VictimsTwo patients of Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital filed complaints against Cottage Health System in 2013 for alleged sexual abuse. Just recently, a third patient filed a lawsuit against the company for the same reason. The lawsuit alleges that nursing assistant Pedro Hernandez sexually abused a disabled patient who is only being identified as “Manuel T.” According to the complaint, Mr. Hernandez began abusing 69-year-old Manuel T. in a sexual manner in 2012 and that the abuse continued until 2014.

In July of 2014, authorities filed charges of sexual battery against Mr. Hernandez for sexually assaulting Manuel T. and another patient, but the wife and conservator of Manuel T. claims that she did not learn this information until after several months had passed. The complaint specifically states that administrators deliberately withheld this information from the patient’s family members.

The History of Complaints against Pedro Hernandez

Contact Information