The Northern Westchester Hospital nurses involved in the alleged scuffle with Douglas Kennedy over his movement of newborn son, Bo through the maternity ward have filed a civil suit, just a week after Kennedy was acquitted in a related criminal trial.
The complaint, obtained by Patch, was filed in state supreme court Tuesday. It accuses Kennedy, a Chappaqua resident and son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, of assault, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress against the nurses, Anna Lane and Cari Luciano.
The 21-page complaint, submitted by personal injury lawyer Elliot Taub, comes with blistering language against Kennedy, accusing him of ignoring calls not to move Bo, intentionally twisting Lane's arm when she tried to keep a stairwell door on the ward shut as he left with the baby, and of intentionally kicking Luciano at the doorway when she reached for the infant. It also claims that Kennedy caused physical and psychological injuries to the nurses.
The lawsuit claims that Kennedy's actions of twisting Lane's arm and kicking Luciano, “exhibited evidence of a high degree of moral turpitude, a gross violation of standards of moral conduct, vileness, such that the act involved was intentionally evil, and a crime under New York State penal law...”
Kennedy's side has adamantly denied that he intentionally harmed the nurses, calling his contact with Luciano as an instinctive response to protect his baby, and denying that he twisted Lane's arm.
The nurses are suing Kennedy for $200,000 ($100,000 each) in punitive damages, unspecified amounts for the civil allegations, and legal fees.
The civil suit is the latest chapter in a nearly 11-month-old saga. In connection with the disputes, Kennedy was charged with, and acquitted of, one misdemeanor count of child endangerment and two non-criminal violation counts of harassment.
The disputes occured on Jan. 7, two days after Bo was born, and Kennedy was charged in late February. A bench trial took place for five days in late October - including tearful testimonies from Luciano and Lane - and Mount Kisco Village Justice John Donohue rendered his not-guilty verdicts on Nov. 20, arguing that Kennedy's actions were not intentional and siding with the defendent.
Responding to news of the lawsuit, Kennedy and his wife, Molly, blasted the nurses in a statement.
"It is disturbing to us that Northern Westchester Hospital would employee people like this. We are horrified that we ever trusted NWH or these nurses to care for our newborn babies. Cari Luciano and Anna Lane lied on January 7th to cover up their bizarre and inappropriate behavior, including violently trying to grab our son. They were exposed as liars at the trial last month. They are now shamefully continuing their lies in order to extort money from our family. Just as we did at the trial, we will resist this gross display of greed, and not cede any ground to liars and extortionists."
Kennedy's side has been pre-emptively raising and attacking the prospect of a lawsuit for months. Robert Gottlieb, one of his lawyers, has repeatedly accused Luciano and Lane of being out for Kennedy's money. In a recent press conference, Gottlieb described the criminal trial as being to “bolster their chances in a civil lawsuit.”
Taub, the nurses' attorney, could not be reached for comment.
A copy of the nurses' lawsuit is attached as a PDF file.