WILSHIRE BLVD — Two former patients of a breast cancer specialist at Santa Monica-based Woman’s Breast Center filed a civil lawsuit alleging he engaged in inappropriate and offensive conduct during examinations.
The suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday by Angela Crickman and Lisa Grebe. They are suing Dr. Lawrence Resnick, a well as Peak Health Medical Group Inc. and Bay Area Community Medical Group Inc. for referring them to Resnick.
The women are claiming that Resnick “engaged in sexually offensive, flirtatious and suggestive conduct and made unwanted advances.” Crickman said the doctor told her, “You have really pretty eyes,” and “Your breasts are perfect. Just perfect,” according to the complaint.
Grebe claims Resnick went so far as to kiss her on the cheek after a breast exam.
“It affected them seriously from an emotional and psychological standpoint,” said Greg Helmer, the attorney representing Crickman and Grebe. “They are absolutely fearful and cautious about who they see for breast exams.”
The women included the medical groups in the lawsuit because they feel the organizations should have known Resnick was reprimanded by the Medical Board of the State of California for engaging in unprofessional conduct and therefore should not have referred the women to him, according to the complaint.
Resnick was reprimanded by the board in 2008, according to records provided by the plaintiffs, however, a search of the medical board database showed no disciplinary action was taken. That’s because Resnick fought the action and it was ultimately thrown out, various sources said.
A spokesperson for the board could not comment on the case because it was dismissed. A public reprimand is the lowest form of discipline that can be administered by the board.
Russell Iungerich, Resnick’s attorney, said the lawsuit was “frivolous” and that at no time did the doctor do anything inappropriate. He believes some of the allegations made are beyond the statute of limitations.
“It’s a strange thing because the doctor always tries to put women at ease,” Iungerich said. “He’s a leading specialist dealing with women who are very concerned about whether or not they have breast cancer. … The stuff they filed on is garbage.”
Peak Health released a statement Thursday saying the allegations are “completely without merit.”
“Peak Health Medical Group is a private group of physicians contracted to provide primary care service to the health maintenance organization (HMO) Bay Area Medical Group, who in turn retains the obligation to appropriately select and credential their contracted specialist,” the statement read. “Peak Health has no influence over the selection process. Peak Health intends to defend itself from these allegations … .”
Bay Area Medical Group was acquired by UCLA Medical Group in February. A spokesperson for UCLA said the organization is “not a party to this lawsuit and we have no comment.”
Helmer said the defendants will most likely be served with the suit in the next few days. They will have 30 days to respond.
“These are allegations at this point,” Helmer said. “We hope we will be able to present them to a jury and then let the jury decide.”