Therapist Defamed His Client’s Boss, the Former Boss Claims
LOS ANGELES (CN) - A therapist used his client’s boss’s medical information to defame him, the former boss claims in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Robert Eiseman sued Kaiser Permanente and Jerry Hamilton Sparks for invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, intentional interference with contractual relationship, defamation and negligence.
According to Eiseman’s lawsuit, someone he supervised identified in the complaint by the pseudonym “John Doe,” saw Sparks, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) for psychotherapy at Kaiser.
Eiseman alleges that Doe complained to Sparks about Eiseman and Sparks responded by accessing Eiseman’s Kaiser medical records and sending a letter to Eiseman’s employer implying that Eiseman was mentally ill and unfit to supervise John Doe.
Both Eiseman and John Doe worked for Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and were covered by a Kaiser health insurance plan, according to the complaint.
“Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that in furtherance of his treatment of John Doe, and in the course and scope of his employment by Kaiser, Sparks decided to interfere with plaintiff’s employment relationship at LAUSD in an ill-conceived, mean-spirited, deliberate, and highly grossly illegal effort to help his patient,” the complaint states.
Sparks wrote a letter to Eiseman’s direct supervisor revealing that Eiseman had used psychotropic medication about seven years earlier, according to the complaint. In the letter Sparks said that Eiseman’s conduct had caused John Doe’s prostate cancer test to show an elevated PSA level and that the stress of working for Eiseman had given John Doe anxiety, depression and vision problems, according to the complaint. Sparks called Mr. Eiseman’s supervision of John Doe a “conflict of interest” that could subject LAUSD to “liability,” according to the complaint.
“Plaintiff never intentionally caused stress or harm to John Doe. Plaintiff was prescribed psychotropic medication literally years before Sparks wrote his letter and plaintiff was not taking such medication at the time of the letter. Nothing plaintiff did or did not do [made} John Doe’s PSA ... rise, and nothing plaintiff did or did not do was creating a liability for LAUSD. Sparks’ letter, which was based on obsolete and private medical records unlawfully accessed by Sparks, created the false implication that plaintiff was unfit for duty at his job, and damaged plaintiff’s career and standing at LAUSD,” the complaint states.
“As a direct and proximate result of defendants’ violation of plaintiff’s constitutional right to privacy, plaintiff has suffered emotional distress, embarrassment, anger and frustration. As a further direct and proximate result of defendants’ actions, LAUSD did not renew plaintiff’s employment contract and plaintiff received a de facto demotion to a lower pay grade and concomitant substantial reduction in his compensation, prestige and career trajectory,” the complaint states.
Robert Eiseman seeks general and special damages including medical expenses, costs incurred, interest and a jury trial. He is represented by David Craig Bernstein of Beverly Hills.