Lawsuit against Franklin General, Franklin County to proceed

A federal judge is dismissing some claims against a local hospital, but allowing the overall lawsuit to continue.

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Bennett issued the ruling in a court filing this week.  Nicole Whitney, a former medical records clerk and receptionist at Franklin General Hospital is suing the hospital, as well as Franklin County, Mercy Health Services, Mercy Health Network, hospital administrator Kim Price, and former Medical Director Brian Hansen.  Whitney alleges that Hansen subjected her to sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual exploitation during her time as his patient and coworker.  She also alleges that she was discriminated against and fired for coming forward to hospital leaders about the abuse.

Hansen was fired in 2012.  He was dismissed from this lawsuit earlier this year “for failure to take action against him within the time provided by local rules,” court documents state.

The defendants asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, and Bennett ruled that the case should continue regarding most of the allegations, but some, including sex assault on the part of the hospitals and county, as well as retaliation for taking time off through the Family and Medical Leave Act should be thrown out.   

Trial is scheduled for June, 2015.

Hansen, meanwhile, faces another federal lawsuit on similar accusations, and has a probation revocation hearing scheduled for later this month on state charges stemming from the alleged abuse.  He pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist in May of 2013.

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