For the second time in less than three months, a judge denied a motion by attorneys for Michael Jackson’s former personal physician to dismiss part of a lawsuit brought by another ex-patient who alleges the doctor inappropriately touched her in his office and shared unsolicited details of his personal life.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Strobel said Friday she disagreed with arguments by defense attorneys that Victoria Oliver’s sexual harassment allegation against Dr. Allan Metzger should be tossed out. The ruling clears the way for the case to go to trial, now scheduled for March 24 .
Metzger’s lawyers said attorneys for Oliver were required by law to demonstrate that she was unable to end the patient-physician relationship she had with him for nearly two decades prior to her decision to do so in November 2011.
Strobel said the evidence shows that over time, Metzger became Oliver’s primary physician for medical problems that included pain, fatigue and weakness.
“The fact that plaintiff terminated her relationship with Dr. Metzger after he allegedly committed a sexual battery on her is not evidence that the relationship could be terminated easily,” Strobel wrote in her opinion.
The judge said Oliver also may have rationally believed that Metzger, due to his reputation as an expert in fibromyalgia, could have had influence on whether she received disability payments.
“Thus, a (jury) could reasonably believe that plaintiff could not easily terminate her relationship with Dr. Metzger,” Strobel wrote.
Oliver filed suit in January 2013. Her other allegations include sexual assault, sexual battery, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and negligence.
During an appointment in the summer of 2011, Metzger hugged Oliver “for a very long time, at the same time caressing her back,” according to the complaint.
In November 2001, Metzger put his hands under Oliver’s blouse during an office visit, the suit alleges. When she complained, he responded, “Why don’t we close the door and really have some fun?,” according to the lawsuit.
A month later, Metzger called Oliver and left an apology on her answering machine, the suit says.
Attorneys for Oliver state in their court papers that the grounds for filing the new cause of action were based in part on information obtained during the deposition testimony of both Oliver and Metzger.
Oliver became Metzger’s patient in 1993, when he diagnosed her with fibromyalgia, and that same year she made him her primary physician, according to her court papers.
Metzger’s behavior changed in 2010, when he asked Oliver to call him “Allan” and told her that he was “miserable because his wife would not have sex with him,” according to the lawsuit.
Metzger testified at the involuntary manslaughter trial of another of Jackson’s other physicians, Dr. Conrad Murray, as well as the trial of Katherine Jackson’s civil suit against AEG Live, the promoters of her late son’s never-realized comeback tour in 2009.
—City News Service
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