WEST PALM BEACH (CN) – A lupus patient says her doctor lured her into an abusive sexual relationship, controlled all aspects of her life, broke her rib and “head butted her face and nose with the top of his head,” saying, “I just did you a favor, you had an ugly Jew nose anyhow.” She sued Dr. Brett R. Hutton, of Delray Beach, in Palm Beach County Court.
Randi Felix has systemic lupus erythematosus, a debilitating chronic autoimmune disease. She says she met Hutton at a pharmaceutical dinner, looking for treatments for the disease.
Felix says Hutton immediately became interested in taking over as her doctor and claimed he was a “lupus specialist” and had treated many lupus patients in Mexico.
“He went on to say that ‘I am the guy to see if you want real help with your disease,'” the complaint states.
Felix says: “Hutton vigorously pursued a romantic relationship with plaintiff but she regularly refused his overtures because she was dating someone else and was further uncomfortable with the idea of becoming romantically involved with her doctor and did not wish to put their professional relationship at risk.”
Hutton was able to alleviate some of her symptoms and improve her overall health, and Felix says she “became increasingly dependent on defendant Hutton both professionally and psychologically.”
The increasing psychological and emotional dependence eventually led Felix to give in to Hutton’s advances and become romantically involved with him in May 2010, according to the complaint.
She says that as the relationship progressed, “Hutton not only exerted more and more control over plaintiff’s medical care and treatment but also exerted such control and influence over her personal life and often crossed the boundaries of what plaintiff deemed to be normal and acceptable dating behavior, especially in a relatively new relationship.”
Felix says the relationship soon became abusive, with Hutton often screaming at her and physically abusing her. She says Hutton “grabbed her arms and slammed her into a wall, which left deep bruises on her arms” when she asked about his previous marriage.
Although Felix was afraid Hutton had an anger management problem, she allowed their romantic relationship to continue, fearing he would stop treating her if she ended it, she says.
She says she visited Hutton at his home on Feb. 8 and found him in a “highly agitated state.”
“When plaintiff tried to calm him, defendant Hutton suddenly, and without warning whatsoever, struck her in the left side of her mouth with his right hand causing her lip to bleed and swell.”
The complaint continues: “Instead of offering medical assistance, defendant Hutton told plaintiff that ‘it was her own fault that her mouth hit his hand and to stop being a baby,’ whereupon plaintiff left …”
Felix says she agreed to give Hutton one last chance, but he physically abused her again while they ate dinner at a restaurant with family and friends: “Hutton became enraged with plaintiff over something she whispered to him and reached under the table and sharply jabbed the left side of her torso and angrily whispered for her to ‘shut the f- up.'”
Felix says her “pain from the blow was immediate and severe,” and she tended to the injury in the restaurant rest room, “where the pain caused her to vomit.”
She say the pain continued to be severe in the following days, and that Hutton, who examined her, claimed “there was nothing he could do for her, and that she should just rest and the pain would eventually go away on its own.”
She adds: “He also told her not to tell anyone about how she was really injured because he would get into serious trouble with the police and that he could lose his medical license.”
On Feb. 21, she says, as she shopped in a grocery store, “the pain in her left side became so bad it rendered her barely able to walk.”
She saw her primary care physician, who diagnosed her with a broken rib.
Felix says she ended her romantic relationship with Hutton on Feb. 23, but he called her several times, “would also conveniently run into her” and insisted that he wanted her back.
She says Hutton showed up uninvited while she ate dinner with friends at a restaurant and that although she was “still very angry over the broken rib, [she] became immediately concerned for his welfare as he appeared to be extremely intoxicated and was visibly agitated and she thought that he might do something to hurt himself.”
She says Hutton “stormed out of the restaurant” due to “some imagined slight” – and she followed him, “to make sure nothing bad happened to him.”
Hutton invited her to up to his nearby apartment “so that they could ‘talk,'” she says, but “as soon as plaintiff walked in the front door, defendant Hutton immediately started screaming at her and told her to get out because he hated her. Before she could leave, however, defendant Hutton charged at her from about 6 feet away and head butted her face and nose with the top of his head.”
The complaint continues: “Plaintiff immediately knew that her nose was broken and felt the pain and tears shooting out of her eyes. When she told defendant Hutton that he had broken her nose, he told her that ‘I just did you a favor, you had an ugly Jew nose anyhow.’
“At this point plaintiff became hysterical and used defendant’s cell phone to dial 911 but he managed to wrestle the phone away from her and hung up before the dispatcher came on. Defendant Hutton answered when the dispatcher called back and advised that there was a problem but everything was OK now.
“Shortly thereafter defendant Hutton told plaintiff that he would kill her if she ever told anyone what has happened, especially the police. He also told her that he ‘killed someone while working in Mexico and got away with it and he will do it again.'”
Felix says her nose was badly fractured and she will need several surgeries to restore it.
Despite this, she says, Hutton told her “that her nose was not broken and he begged her not to go to a doctor or the police. He then told her if she reported the crime to anyone it would ‘ruin his life and take everything away from him’ and that if that happened he ‘would get out on bail and come for plaintiff and kill her.'”
Aside from her physical injuries, Felix says, she lives “in constant fear that defendant Hutton will attempt to take her life or inflict great bodily injury upon her.”
She seeks compensatory and punitive damages for battery, assault, intentional infliction of severe emotional distress and breach of fiduciary duty.
She is represented by David Eltringham with Stone & Eltringham of Boca Raton.