CHARLESTON—Three more lawsuits have been filed against Charleston Gastroenterology Associates and a physician alleged to have sexually assaulted patients while they were under anesthesia.
Charleston Gastroenterology Associates, Dr. Steven R. Matulis, Day Surgery Center, DS Holdings were all named as defendants in the three lawsuits that were filed April 25 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuits are D.C. and R.C.; R.L.; and T.W. and R.W. They alleged they were the victims of sexual misconduct while they were patients of Matulis' and the medical office and were undergoing procedures at Day Surgery Center at the time of the alleged incidents.
The plaintiffs claim Matulis failed to obtain their consent and inappropriately touched them. He also failed to document the inappropriate touching in their medical charts.
Matulis allegedly sexually molested the plaintiffs during their surgical procedures without their knowledge.
The other defendants failed to inform the plaintiffs of the sexual misconduct.
The plaintiffs claimed the defendants were negligent and caused their injuries and damages.
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. They are represented by Robert V. Berthold Jr. and Matthew C. Berthold of Berthold Law Firm.
More than one dozen lawsuits have been filed against Matulis over the last two years, including a class action lawsuit.
Matulis switched his medical license to inactive in May 2016.
Matulis was named in an indictment on seven counts on June 1. He's expected to be arraigned on the charges soon.
Putnam County Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia is leading the case as special prosecutor. Kanawha County Prosecutor Chuck Miller asked that his office be removed from the case in 2016.
Matthew Berthold said the civil cases were on hold until the criminal case investigation made headway.
"Now that that has come to a head with Special Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia taking action and indicting Dr. Matulis, it will get the ball rolling for a lot of the civil cases," Matthew Berthold said in an interview with The West Virginia Record.
Matthew Berthold said in the interim Berthold Law Firm has taken several individual cases against Matulis and has joined with Masters Law Firm and Preston & Salango in a class action lawsuit against Matulis.
"Now that Dr. Matulis has been indicted, it'll start over the next little bit to proceed," Matthew Berthold said.
Matthew Berthold said it is hard to tell how quickly the civil lawsuits will proceed once the criminal case is over.
"Our firms are eager to continue in these cases to vigorously advocate and stand up for the victims," Matthew Berthold said. "So, however long that process takes, we're here to support and advocate for all these women."
Kanawha Circuit Court Case numbers: 18-C-575, 18-C-576, 18-C-578