Last month, an appellate court hearing appeals from Queens County cases reversed a trial court and granted St. John's Episcopal Hospital South Shore motion to dismiss the case of a patient suing for sexual assault. The plaintiff while admitted as a patient of St. John's claimed to have been sexually assaulted by a physician. The hospital was sued under the doctrine of respondeat superior which makes an employer liable for the conduct of an employee under very limited circumstances that were found lacking in this case.
Simply put, to hold the hospital liable, it must be shown that the doctor's alleged sexual assault was "generally foreseeable and a natural incident of the employment." Clearly, sexually assaulting patient's is not in the furtherance of the hospital's business and was undertaken for "for wholly personal motives." No acceptable proof was submitted indicating the hospital knew or should have known the physician had a tendency toward this type of conduct. Montalvo v. Episcopal Health Services, Inc. 2019 NYSUM 120726