Posted Nov 01, 2013 06:55 pm CDT
A judge in Baltimore has conditionally OK’d a mandatory class action in a case brought by former patients of a deceased Johns Hopkins Hospital gynecologist accused of secretly photographing and filming women in examining rooms.
Some 3,800 individuals are already represented by counsel in the case and the total number of potential victims could reach 9,000, plaintiff’s attorneys Howard A. Janet and Jonathan Schochor tell the Baltimore Sun.
They and hospital officials are now working on a possible settlement in the case.
Under an order entered Friday in Baltimore City Circuit Court, claimants must participate in a mandatory class action if they wish to seek damages from the hospital, according the Maryland Daily Record (sub. req.) and the Sun. If a settlement is not reached, claimants would then be free to pursue litigation.
The accused gynecologist, Dr. Nikita Levy, 54, apparently committed suicide earlier this year as a police investigation was ongoing. Patients are concerned that some of the photos he is accused of taking could have wound up on Internet porn sites, but attorneys say there is no evidence that this has occurred.
Patients do not have to prove they were photographed by Levy to participate in settlement negotiations concerning the suit, the Associated Press reports. The action alleges that the hospital knew or should have known Levy was photographing patients without their consent and failed to take appropriate measures to discover and deal with his conduct.
“Johns Hopkins sincerely hopes that the conditional class action settlement framework will facilitate a fair resolution of all claims,” the hospital says in a written statement provided to the Sun.
“Because of the sensitive nature of the allegations, Johns Hopkins believes that attempting to resolve the claims without protracted litigation is in the best interests of those potentially affected by Dr. Levy’s conduct and will help to preserve the privacy of our patients,” the hospital statement continues.
ABAJournal.com: “Police say fired Johns Hopkins doc used pencam to take secret photos of patients”