A Pasco jury awarded $820,000 to a Florida woman who claimed she was sexually harassed by Dr. Gunwant Dhaliwal as he provided training for her physician’s assistant position, reports Tampa Bay Times. According to plaintiff Danielle Turner’s testimony, she went to Dhaliwal’s walk-in clinic after hours so her new boss could demonstrate a microdermabrasion procedure on her. Once the demonstration was finished, Dhaliwal allegedly applied a lotion to her face and then to her chest, at which point he moved his hands beneath her shirt and fondled her breasts.
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In his testimony, Dhaliwal denied the charges against him, claiming that while Turner did indeed visit his clinic, they only spoke briefly in the lobby. Additionally, Dhaliwal claimed that his clinic had not performed microdermabrasions for several years. However, after an advocate for Turner took the stand and recalled the victim’s raw face—an apparent side effect of microdermabrasion—jurors reportedly swayed in Ms. Turner’s favor. After deliberating for nearly two hours, they slapped a verdict of $820,000—$700,000 in punitive damages and $120,000 in pain and suffering—against Dhaliwal.
“I just thought the jury did an excellent job in not buying what Dr. Dhaliwal was selling and giving a well rounded, reasonable verdict to all aspects of the case,” said Ms. Turner’s attorney, Scott Borders of Morgan and Morgan.
Dhaliwal, who maintains his innocence, has been accused by other women of harassment similar to that allegedly done to Ms. Turner. Last May, a jury convicted Dhaliwal of battery against a patient who said she was groped and in October 2012 yet another battery trial involving Dhaliwal is slated to begin.
These collection of assault and harassment charges serve as reminders that such incidents do occur, often in a pattern, and sometimes by people we trust. At Morgan & Morgan we understand that coming forward with harassment and assault charges may be difficult, but know that by taking legal action you are likely helping to prevent similar instances of assault in the future.
Additionally, if you or a loved one has been the victim of harassment, you may stand to receive compensation for your physical and emotional injuries.