West Virginia Record

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Doctor, clinic hit again with sexual harassment suit

By Annie Cosby | Apr 8, 2014

BECKLEY -- A Greenbrier County woman is suing over claims she was sexually harassed by her doctor.

Donna Dillard filed a lawsuit March 7 in Raleigh Circuit Court against Hope Clinic PLLC and John H. Pellegrini D.O., citing sexual harassment.

According to the complaint, beginning in April 2012, Dillard saw Pellegrini during which time she experienced inappropriate touching and sexual assault. Dillard says she refrained from reporting the incident in fear of her care being dismissed from the clinic, but when she finally reported the incident to the office manager, she was required to take a drug test. Dillard says she was informed she had failed the drug test, due to a prescription after a surgery, and was dismissed from the clinic.

Pellegrini is accused of civil assault and battery, negligence, and medical negligence. Hope Clinic is accused of premises liability, intentional/negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent hiring, negligent failure to train and retaliation.

Dillard is seeking damages in an amount 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.

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

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