Civil Sexual Assault Claim: Florida Hospital Sued After Male Nurse Allegedly Assaults Patient
According to a report from NBC 2, an unidentified woman has filed a civil sexual assault lawsuit against a man named Christopher Stamulis—a former nurse at the Lehigh Regional Medical Center in Lehigh Acres, Florida. In this article, our Miami sexual assault & battery attorneys provide an overview of the allegations raised against the Lee County hospital and we discuss the standard of liability in civil cases.
Allegations: Nurse Drugged, Sexually Assaulted Victim
In November of 2019, the alleged victim was admitted into the Lehigh Regional Medical Center after reporting symptoms of respiratory distress. During her stay in the hospital, she contends that nurse Christopher Stamulis sexually assaulted her. Based on information contained in the legal complaint, the victim alleges that Mr. Stamulis improperly treated her with a benzodiazepine, barricaded her inside of a hospital room, and then committed an act of sexual assault. A representative for Lehigh Regional Medical Center told reporters that he was aware of the allegations and the lawsuit, but he declined to issue a specific comment on the matter. Mr. Stamulis is reportedly no longer employed at the medical facility.
Third Party Liability: Negligent Violation of Duty of Care
Hospitals owe a duty of care to their patients. When someone is admitted to a medical center, they are putting a deep sense of trust in their medical provider—not just to offer reliable, high-quality care but also to prove basic protection against safety threats.
If a sexual assault occurs, a negligent third party may bear civil liability for the attack. Among other things, health care providers have a legal obligation to screen and train their staff members. Notably, in this case, the plaintiff alleges that Mr. Stamulis has a history of sexual misconduct towards vulnerable patients. Specifically, the victim alleges:
- He was sanctioned by the Oregon State Board of Nursing after multiple people raised complaints, including complaints regarding sexual contact with patients; and
- He faced disciplinary action from nursing regulators in North Carolina.
In Florida, a hospital or health care facility is not automatically liable for a sexual assault that occurs on their premises. However, if the attack occurred, at least in part, because of the provider’s negligence, they can be held responsible in a civil claim.
Medical providers have a responsibility to screen and train their employees. In this case, representatives for the plaintiff argue that the hospital is at fault for the male nurse’s misconduct because they knew or should have known about his history of prior transgressions.
Call Our South Florida Sexual Assault Lawyers for Immediate Help
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida civil sexual assault attorneys are experienced, compassionate advocates for victims. We are committed to get justice, accountability, and financial support for sexual assault victims. If you or your loved one was assaulted due to the negligence of a business, organization, or other entity, we can help. Call us now for free, strictly confidential initial consultation. We have offices in West Palm Beach and Miami.