BECKLEY -- A Greenbrier County woman is suing over claims she was sexually assaulted by her doctor.
Donna Dillard filed a lawsuit March 17 in Raleigh Circuit Court against Hope Clinic PLLC, John H. Pellegrini D.O., The ERx Group LLC and PmP Services Inc., citing sexual harassment.
According to the complaint, Dillard began treatment with Pellegrini at the Hope Clinic in April 2012 when she first experienced inappropriate sexual touching during an exam, but told no one for fear of being dismissed from the clinic.
Dillard says she informed the office manager of the conduct in November 2012, but in December of the same year, after getting a splinter that became infected and being treated at the hospital with a skin graft, Dillard was informed that she was being dismissed from the Hope Clinic for failing her drug test.
The defendants are accused of civil assault and battery, false imprisonment, negligence, premises liability, tort of outrage, negligent hiring, negligent failure to train and/or supervise, medical negligence, retaliation and violations of right to privacy.
Dillard is seeking damages and costs to be determined by the court.
She is being represented in the case by attorneys Matthew S. Criswell and Mark L. French of Criswell French Condaras PLLC. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Robert A. Burnside.
Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against Pellegrini since 2010 involving claims that he sexually abused and harassed patients. In November 2012, the West Virginia Board of Osteopathic Medicine suspended Pellegrini’s license.
In 2001, Pellegrini was the subject of a medical malpractice lawsuit filed in federal court. The lawsuit stemmed from allegations that Pellegrini negligently performed a hysterectomy on the plaintiff. In July 2010, 20 women filed lawsuits in Wayne County alleging that Pellegrini sexually abused and harassed them while he worked as a physician at the Lakin Correction Center. In 2011, another suit was filed against Pellegrini. And in 2013, another was filed against him.
The 2012 WVBOM order found probable cause to believe that Pellegrini engaged in unprofessional and unethical conduct. The Board also issued a Statement of Charges that alleged Pellegrini committed repeated acts of an unethical exercise of influence within a doctor-patient relationship for the purpose of engaging a patient in sexual activity.
The Board also found that Pellegrini was likely to continue his practices of unethical and inappropriate behavior unless it took immediate action. The Board then suspended Pellegrini’s medical license based on a finding that Pellegrini’s continued practice of medicine and surgery would constitute an immediate danger to the public.
In 2013, at least one lawsuit was filed against Pellegrini, Hope Clinic and other entities involving allegations that Pellegrini sexually abused, sexual harassed his patients and subjected them to other inappropriate conduct. Other suits have been filed earlier this year in Raleigh Circuit Court and Kanawha Circuit Court.
Raleigh Circuit Court Case No. 14-C-205-B.