Judge: Suit filed by 29 women can proceed against ex-doctor

Posted at 8:15 AM, December 17, 2020 and last updated 3:46 PM, July 21, 2023

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A judge has denied a request by a former suburban Portland doctor to put a two-year hold on a civil case filed against him by 29 patients who allege he sexually abused them.

Multnomah County Circuit Judge Melvin Oden-Orr noted in his ruling Monday that “for some plaintiffs, 17 years have already passed,” The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Four women filed a lawsuit against West Linn Dr. David Farley and then another 25 women joined it last week. Together, the 29 women seek a total of $290 million in damages, alleging Farley performed unnecessary pelvic exams and engaged in sexual battery while they were in his care.

The Oregon Medical Board stripped Farley of his state medical license in October for dishonorable and unprofessional conduct and gross or repeated negligence. He remains under criminal investigation by West Linn police.

Karen O’Kasey, Farley’s lawyer, argued among other things that postponing the civil suit would protect Farley’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in the police investigation.

“My client is facing a criminal investigation based on the same conduct, if not more, alleged by these same defendants,” she told the court.

The judge found the arguments weren’t sufficient to grant a hold on the civil suit.

Citing case law, Oden-Orr wrote, “Defendant has no absolute right not to be forced to choose between testifying in a civil matter and asserting his Fifth Amendment privilege.”

Further, Oden-Orr said Farley’s request isn’t to simply delay a civil trail but also to delay gathering evidence in the case.