Welcome to the National Center for Victims of Crime

We are the nation's leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them. Please join us as we forge a national commitment to help victims of crime rebuild their lives.

Return to the Case Law Sample List

THE NATIONAL CRIME VICTIM BAR ASSOCIATION CIVIL JUSTICE DATABASE

Sparks Regional Medical Center v. Smith
976 S.W.2d 396, Ark.App., AR, 10/07/1998
Category
Topic
Filename
Crime Sexual Assault 
Location Hospital 
Prevailing Party Plaintiff 
Other Parties Hospital 
Holding

Statement of Facts: On July 2, 1994, while she was a patient at Sparks Regional Medical Center ("Sparks"), Donna Smith was sexually assaulted by Jeff Chavez, a Sparks employee. Chavez was subsequently convicted of first-degree sexual abuse. Smith sued Sparks, arguing that it negligently hired Chavez because he had previously been discharged by another hospital for sexually harassing a patient. Smith also asserted that Sparks knew of other incidents of sexual harassment by Chavez while he was at Sparks. The jury found for Smith and awarded her $80,000 in damages. Sparks' motions for a directed verdict and a judgment notwithstanding the verdict were denied. Sparks appealed, arguing that Chavez was not acting within the scope of his employment. Holding: The Court of Appeals of Arkansas affirmed the judgment on the verdict. The evidence supported the finding that Sparks had sufficient information to determine that Chavez posed a danger to female patients (including a disciplinary action report after a prior complaint by another patient), but took no action. Therefore, there was sufficient evidence to support a finding of negligent supervision. 


Damage Award $80,000 
Victim's Counsel     
Plaintiff's Counsel Charles Karr, Fort Smith 
Plaintiff's Expert      
Defense Counsel G. Alan Wooten, Kathryn Stock Campbell, Fort Smith 
Defense Expert      

The National Center for Victims of Crime, All rights reserved