Las Vegas Sun

April 25, 2014

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Court: Alleged sexual assault victim entitled to hospital’s records

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Steven Farmer

CARSON CITY – The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that a woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted while a patient at Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas is entitled to records and documents of past abuses of patients.

The woman filed a civil suit against the hospital and its parent company, Valley Health Systems, saying she entered the hospital after experiencing seizures in May 2008. She alleges she was sexually assaulted by certified nurse’s assistant Steven Farmer.

Her suit alleges general negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery, and false imprisonment.

She asked that the hospital and Valley Health produce documents of prior complaints of assaults, batteries or sexual assaults by employees at the hospital and its other facilities. Valley Health objected to producing such records on grounds it would lead to a miscarriage of justice, discovery of irrelevant material and discovery of privileged materials.

The Nevada Supreme Court, in a decision written by Chief Justice Michael Douglas, said the information requested should be confined to sexual misconduct.

A discovery commissioner ruled that these records must be produced and District Judge Jack Ames agreed.

The court said the arguments of Valley Health that the discovery order was a miscarriage of justice was without merit.

Douglas wrote that attorneys for Valley Health did not raise the issue of privilege of records until the dispute reached district court.

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