Attorneys from the Philadelphia-based law firm Laffey, Bucci, and Kent filed this week’s third sexual assault lawsuit against nationwide chain Massage Envy in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Middlesex County on August 29. Four women claim to have been sexually assaulted by massage therapists at four different locations throughout the state.
These four women join 16 others who have filed lawsuits against the company in just the past week – with 11 women alleging sexual assault at chain locations across California and another 5 bringing a lawsuit against locations in Florida. All 20 women in these cases are being represented by Laffey, Bucci, and Kent.
These lawsuits all allege that Massage Envy’s negligence enabled these sexual assaults to occur. Specifically, the attorneys allege that the company has a culture of coverups that encouraged keeping complaints “in-house” and hidden from “law enforcement, state massage therapy boards, unsuspecting customers, and the public at large.”
This week’s surge of lawsuits against Massage Envy is nothing new. In late 2017, BuzzFeed launched an investigation that revealed over 180 complaints, lawsuits, and police reports filed for alleged sexual assaults at locations throughout the country. With 1,200 franchise locations across the United States, there could easily be many more victims who have yet to come forward.
Brian Kent is one of the attorneys fighting for Massage Envy sexual assault victims at Laffey, Bucci, and Kent. We’ve asked him to discuss company liability for massage therapist sexual assault and the legal options available to victims:
Taking legal action through a civil lawsuit can help survivors of sexual assault in a few different ways. These lawsuits provide financial compensation for damages suffered by the victim, demand accountability from companies whose negligence enabled sexual assaults to occur, and encourage other victims to come forward about their own traumatic experiences as survivors of sexual assault.
In order to have grounds for a lawsuit, your legal counsel will need to establish that the perpetrator’s employer was negligent and that if it weren’t for this negligence, the assault may never have occurred. These latest lawsuits allege systemic cover-ups by Massage Envy. Another example would be a massage facility failing to run a background check on a new employee with a history of sexual misconduct.
Liability varies depending on the specific circumstances of a case. In order to fully understand your legal options as the survivor of sexual assault, you’ll need to discuss your case with an experienced sexual assault survivors lawyer.