Doctor & Boss Raped Nurse Repeatedly, Suit Alleges
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – A former Kaiser employee filed a lawsuit in Sacramento County Superior Court claiming that her doctor, who was also her supervisor, repeatedly raped her.
The plaintiff, suing anonymously under the name "Poe," sued Arif M. Seyal, The Permanente Medical Group, Inc., Kaiser Foundations Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and The Permanente Foundation for sexual assault, sexual battery and rape.
According to the action, Poe was sexually assaulted and traumatized as a child, causing her to have a mental condition “that impaired her ability to cognize, cope with, and report similar abuses.”
Poe says she began working as a medical assistant in the Adult Medicine Department for the North Valley division of Kaiser in 1999. “As the Chief Physician of the Allergy Department for the North Valley division of The Permanente Medical Group, Inc,, defendant Dr. Arif M. Seyal has apparent/inherent authority to make hiring and firing decisions as well as to create new positions,” the suit states.
In 2004, Poe began to see defendant Seyal as her physician as well. Seyal wrote notes for Poe to provide accommodations for her medical conditions. Poe claims his inappropriate behavior began in 2005, when he began to invite her out of town on purported business trips, which she refused “because she saw no true business purpose for the out of town travel,” the suit states.
Then, “defendant Seyal requested plaintiff to attend a conference with him in Honolulu, Hawaii because, he asserted, it would provide her with experience that would make her uniquely well-qualified for a Research Nurse position that defendant Seyal was in the process of creating at defendant The Permanente Medical Group, Inc.,” the action alleges.
Poe says she agreed on condition that her travel expenses would be covered and she would have her own hotel room. Poe claims Seyal agreed to her conditions, yet when she arrived, he had booked only one room for the two of them.
At dinner, Seyal encouraged Poe to drink alcohol and after she was intoxicated, took her to the room. She says she awoke in the middle of the night to find him “performing cunnilingus on her. Although still intoxicated and not fully conscious, plaintiff said ‘no’ and attempted to push defendant Seyal away from her,” but he then “overpowered her, pinned her down, and initiated vaginal sexual intercourse by force,” the complaint claims.
According to the action, this pattern continued for five years and encompassed “an unknown number of sexual batteries/rape” on business trips “at a number of locations throughout California, Hawaii and Nevada,” in sixteen named hotels. These business trip expenses were footed by Kaiser defendants, the action alleges.
Poe claims Seyal exerted undue influence on her both as her doctor and as her supervisor, and that the mental and emotional distress from his actions contributed to her “heightened anxiety and increased occurrences of PTSD-related symptoms, which required plaintiff to take a medical leave of absence in 2013 and ultimately led to plaintiff’s termination from her position,” the suit states.
Poe seeks compensatory damages for past and future wage loss, medical/psychiatric care, emotional pain, loss of self-esteem, grief, distress, stigma and loss of enjoyment of life, and punitive damages for Seyal’s actions “done with malice, fraud, in conscious disregard for plaintiff’s personal rights because defendant Seyal knew, or should have known, that plaintiff did NOT consent and/or did NOT have capacity to consent, to the acts he committed against her ,” as well as legal costs. (Emphasis in original)
The plaintiff is represented by Lance S. Stenhouse in Carmichael, California.