Class-action lawsuit seeks to represent hundreds of women videotaped
during surgical procedures without their consent
SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–lt;a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/classaction?src=hash" target="_blank"gt;#classactionlt;/agt;–Sharp Grossmont Hospital is facing a class-action
lawsuit for its alleged use of hidden cameras in the operating rooms
of its Women’s Health Center, according to attorneys at Hagens Berman
representing a proposed class of thousands of female patients who were
videotaped without their consent during surgical procedures.
The same law firm represents a class of women against Harvey Weinstein,
and also recently achieved a pending settlement on behalf of female
students and alumnae of the University of Southern California who were
sexually harassed and abused at USC Student Health Center by its former
gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall.
According to recent investigations, Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa,
Calif. secretly videotaped more than 1,800 women, who were “unconscious,
undressed on operating room tables, undergoing medical procedures” and
captured in more than 6,966 video clips. The hidden cameras were
installed on or about July 17, 2012 in all three operating rooms of the
Women’s Health Center. The cameras operated 24 hours a day, seven days a
week until June 30, 2013.
The lawsuit, filed Apr. 17, 2019, in the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of California states the hospital did not obtain
patients’ consent to record any of the footage, which includes caesarean
births, birth complications, dilatation and curettage to resolve
miscarriages, hysterectomies, sterilizations and other medical
The suit’s named plaintiff gave birth at the hospital by caesarean
section during the timeframe the cameras were in the operating room at
Women’s Health Center at Sharp Grossmont Hospital. The suit states,
“Plaintiff did not consent and would not have consented to being
recorded during this procedure, has suffered severe emotional distress
upon learning of this gross invasion of privacy, and has been damaged as
a result of Defendants’ actions.”
“In a further breach of trust and duty, after the recordings were
completed, Sharp stored the files on computers accessible by multiple
users, some without password protection,” the suit states. “Sharp also
allegedly destroyed some recordings, but has not confirmed when or how
it deleted the files, whether anyone took the files, or whether the
files are nonetheless recoverable.”
The lawsuit brings various charges against Sharp Grossmont Hospital
including invasion of privacy; gross negligence; intentional and
negligent infliction of emotional distress; negligent failure to warn,
train or educate; and violation of California penal codes related to
videotaping and recording.
“These patients suffered a severe breach of their basic rights to
privacy and respect at a time when they were at their most vulnerable –
seeking medical attention and likely unconscious during a serious
surgical procedure. The hospital’s use of cameras is a gross invasion of
privacy and shameful behavior,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of
“Physicians swear to an oath when they pursue a role as a trusted
caretaker in our communities and hospitals: They promise to ‘respect the
privacy of my patients’ and ‘respect a patient’s right to
confidentiality,’” Berman added. “We believe this conduct falls well
below the standard set by the Hippocratic Oath, and below basic core
human tenets of respect and dignity. We intend to fight aggressively for
the rights of women who were secretly filmed.”
An Investigation Reveals the Hidden Cameras
According to the lawsuit, the hospital claims it installed the cameras
to catch a suspected doctor stealing drugs from the operating rooms, but
the hospital admitted that it knew the film would not be enough to
confront the suspected doctor. The existence of the recordings only
became known to a limited number of people when the Medical Board of
California began an investigation of the suspected doctor in 2015.
Shortly after installing the cameras, the hospital’s then-Director of
Security told its then-CEO the video evidence was not sufficient to
confront the suspected doctor. However, the CEO instructed the Director
of Security to continue taking the videos.
“The hospital kept the hidden cameras running for several months after
it concluded its investigation of the suspected doctor,” Berman said.
“Unquestionably, Sharp Grossmont must be held accountable.”
Recent news headlines have brought these heinous acts to the forefront,
and many victims have bravely stepped forward to tell their stories.
Hagens Berman continues this fight, working to help achieve justice for
those who have been victim to sexual violation, and enforce systemic
us about your case.
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law
firm with nine offices across the country. The firm’s tenacious drive
for plaintiffs’ rights has earned it numerous national accolades, awards
and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” and MVPs and Trailblazers
of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be
found at www.hbsslaw.com.
Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.