Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Illinois Gender Violence Act

Last December, a doctor who practiced in Yorkville and Naperville was arrested on charges of criminal sexual assault. The Kendall County State's Attorney's Office alleges that the doctor inappropriately touched or fondled several female patients between 2012 and 2014. Kendall County detectives are looking for additional victims.

The victims of the sexual assaults are entitled to damages from the offending doctor, and depending on the circumstances, may also be entitled to damages from the hospitals and clinics that employed the doctor. Obvious theories of common law recovery include sexual battery, assault, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among others. 

These victims, however, should not overlook the Illinois Gender Violence Act (the "Act"). The Act provides for a private cause of action for anyone who has been subjected to gender-related violence. Gender-related violence is defined as "a physical intrusion or physical invasion of a sexual nature under coercive conditions satisfying the elements of battery under the laws of Illinois, whether or not the act or acts resulted in criminal charges, prosecution, or conviction." 

Victims of gender-related violence may bring a civil action for damages, injunctive relief, or other appropriate relief. In an action brought under the Act, the court may award actual damages, damages for emotional distress, or punitive damages. A judgment may also include attorney's fees and costs.

If anyone has questions about the applicability of the Illinois Gender Violence Act, please do not hesitate to send a confidential email HERE.  

No comments: