Lawyers looking for victims of accused doctor to join civil lawsuit.
While the criminal prosecution of accused pedophile pediatrician Earl Bradley moves forward, lawyers are reaching out to possible victims to build a civil case against the doctor and other health professionals who may have failed to report their concerns about his behavior.
Georgetown, Delaware attorney Edward Gill has purchased print advertisement space in the News Journal. The ad, directed at “patients of local pediatrician Dr. Earl Bradley” offers to “help members of our community cope with this ordeal.”
Gill’s office has assembled a legal team to deal with what is expected to be an influx of potential victims. Part of that legal team is Baltimore attorney Philip Federico with the law firm of Schochor, Federico and Staton.
Federico says they’ve been contacted by a “healthy number” of potential clients, but he wouldn’t say exactly how many. “The idea is really to educate the public about what has ocurred and to raise awareness, so that anybody who is a potential victim of Dr. Bradley does pursue their claim if they want to in a timely fashion.” Earlier this year, the state extended the statute of limitations for claims against Bradley until July 2012.
Federico says he also wants to send a warning to health care providers about their responsibility to report improper activity by others in their profession. “This kind of conduct really is unacceptable. You cannot permit one of your peers to act like this and keep it a secret,” he says. That’s why in addition to pursuing a civil case against Bradley, Federico will also go after those who may have known about some of Bradley’s behavior and didn’t properly report it. “It would have ended very quickly if the people, the health care providers who became aware of it, took the appropriate action. There would not be potentially hundreds of victims.”
An investigation into how the alleged abuse was not discovered or reported earlier was completed earlier this year by Widener University Law School Dean Linda Ammons. Ammons report, conducted at the request of Governor Jack Markell (D), highlighted several “missed opportunities” to put a stop to the abuse. Ammons’ report also outlined nearly 70 steps to prevent a similar situation from happening again.
Federico says it’s not clear whether his clients will be granted class action status, or whether individual claims will be heard individually. “It’s very complicated in making that decision, and the court will certainly have its hands full in terms of what’s best.”