Former hospital employee drops harassment lawsuit

ELLSWORTH — A lawsuit filed in October 2021 against Northern Light Health by a former clerical employee who worked in the Ellsworth and Blue Hill hospitals will not move forward, after the employee dismissed the suit on March 10.

Named “Jane Doe” in the suit to protect her privacy, the former employee had also named Tennessee hospital staffing company TeamHealth, which Northern Light Health uses to contract doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners for its Maine health-care facilities.

Jane Doe voluntarily dismissed the suit, according to court documents filed in Bangor federal court. The notice to dismiss came one day before the defendants’ response to the suit was due in court, so no judicial ruling was necessary. The court had granted a one-week delay to both defendants to file their responses.

“The Plaintiff’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit was unilateral,” Northern Light Health Senior Vice President Suzanne Spruce said. “No settlement of any kind preceded it.”

Jane Doe was employed by Northern Light Health from May 2019 through April 3, 2020. In her suit, she alleged sexual harassment, unwanted sexual contact, sexual assault and rape by a TeamHealth doctor working at the two hospitals who was also her direct supervisor.

Spruce told The American after the lawsuit was filed that Northern Light has “a zero tolerance of such conduct in our health care system” and denied the allegations in Jane Doe’s complaint.

Northern Light had conducted an internal investigation in early 2020 after Jane Doe made a formal written complaint to Northern Light and Team Health. The doctor, named Dr. D. in the lawsuit, alleged the sexual encounters were consensual.

Jane Doe’s notice of dismissal did not note why she was withdrawing her lawsuit.

Anne Berleant

Anne Berleant

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Anne Berleant covers news and features in Ellsworth, Mariaville, Otis, Amherst, Aurora, Great Pond and Osborn. When not reporting, find her hiking local trails, reading or watching professional tennis. Email her at [email protected]

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