It was a scandal like no other and the case of Dr. Peter LaFuria has yet to come to an end.
He was the ob-gyn doctor arrested for allegedly taking pictures of his patients private parts in the exam room without their okay. A preliminary settlement has been approved that may finally resolve a class action suit stemming from the case.
It was April 2007 when LaFuria was arrested after allegations surfaced he photographed patients in the exam room without their knowledge or permission. The woman who first spoke up was LaFuria patient Skye Taylor-- who recently died after a sudden illness according to attorney Ron Richard. " Due to her brave and insistent manner, all of this came to light which resulted in his arrest and a class action lawsuit that I filed against Dr. LaFuria on behalf of all of his patients which were thousands of patients over the years."
The main part of that lawsuit, involving millions of dollars, was settled years back, but part against LaFuria's insurance providers has been pending. Richard says a preliminary settlement of about $150,000 is approved but that it doesn't yield enough to distribute to hundreds of women. "These are monies that are being paid to basically buy peace. The administrative cost of trying to give hundreds or thousands of women a check would probably eat up the $150,000. The ultimate checks that we would probably cut to give the women might be five dollars or something," said Richard.
They propose to use it to help battered women at the Calcasieu Women's Shelter and to fund the collection of evidence from rape victims. "That program needs some funding and the district attorney's office has requested if we would be involved in that and it seems to be a wonderful way to help women out of LaFuria's wrongdoing," said Richard.
A fairness hearing must be held before the settlement is final. Meanwhile, the criminal charges against LaFuria are also still pending. A number of issues dealing with searches and seizure of evidence have been raised on appeal and no firm trial date is set.
LaFuria is out on bond and reportedly living somewhere in Texas.
Over the coming weeks details will be published about the fairness hearing set for October 22 and other issues. The details can be found in legal ads to be published in local newspapers and on Richard's web site so check here for more info in the weeks to come.
Watch for more on this story on later editions of KPLC7News and www.kplctv.com