SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The Utah Supreme Court is considering reopening a lawsuit against a retired Provo OB-GYN who is accused of sexually harassing and abusing more than 90 women.
Dozens of the alleged victims stood before the justices on Friday, hoping the high court would reinstate the lawsuit, which seeks damages and a trial by jury for Dr. David Broadbent.
The women allege the doctor took advantage of his position and “sexually battered and abused” them. The plaintiffs, who are from all over the country, claim Broadbent touched their bodies to the point where it hurt, made degrading remarks, and performed medical examinations without gloves.
Last year, a judge in Utah’s Fourth District Court dismissed the case against Broadbent. While the judge noted that the allegations against the doctor painted his interactions with patients as “insensitive, disrespectful and degrading,” he concluded the case was misfiled as sexual abuse rather than medical malpractice.
A medical malpractice suit would require the patients to file their complaints within two years. However, some of the allegations in the lawsuit against Broadbent, which runs 72 pages, go back decades.
Speaking before the justices on Friday, attorneys for the women argued that the Fourth District Court judge made a mistake in tossing out the case, saying the women were not complaining about health care, but abuse.
On the other hand, attorneys for Broadbent and Intermountain Healthcare, one of the defendants listed in the lawsuit, argued that the women’s claims were without merit and “outright alleged healthcare.”
Before the court adjourned, the justices said they would take both sides’ briefings under advisement before they issue a ruling.