More sexual harassment claims filed against clinic, doctor

By Ben Hart | Mar 24, 2014

CHARLESTON -- Three more women have filed sexual harassment claims against a clinic and one of its physicians.

Carista Click of Raleigh County, Kathy Keen of Greenbrier County and Michelle Dalton of Pendleton County filed separate lawsuits last month in Kanawha Circuit Court against John Pellegrini D.O., Hope Clinic PLLC, The ERX Group LLC, PMP Services Inc. and John Doe, citing sexual harassment, battery, assault, negligence and infliction of emotional distress.

In her complaint, Click claims she went to the Hope Clinic in Kanawha County for an appointment with Pellegrini, who was treating Click when he began massaging her back and assaulted her by rubbing his genitals against her in an attempt to ejaculate, causing Click emotional and mental distress.

Keen and Dalton's complaints make similar claims against Pellegrini resulting from visits to the Hope Clinic in Beckley.

The women are seeking damages in excess of jurisdictional limit, attorneys fees, interest and court costs.

They all are being represented by Charleston attorney Christopher J. Heavens of Heavens Law Firm PLLC and Huntington attorney James D. McQueen Jr. of McQueen Davis PLLC.

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.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 14-C-365 (Click), 14-C-376 (Keen) and 14-C-378 (Dalton)

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