Former Geisinger doctor files to have sexual assault suit moved out of county

As it appeared in The Times Leader

By Patrick Kernan

WILKES-BARRE — Geisinger previously asked for a lawsuit be moved out of Luzerne County, and on Tuesday, the former doctor named in the suit asked for the same thing.

The doctor, who was sued for sexual assault, also claims he shouldn’t have to pay punitive damages.

Last summer, Dr. Abraham Joseph Layon allegedly sexually assaulted a minor who was part of an educational program he ran at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, according to a lawsuit filed by the girl and her mother in December.

Layon was terminated after the alleged incident. Charges against him, including misdemeanor counts of indecent assault and harassment and a summary count of harassment, were formally filed in Montour County in early February.

Both Geisinger and Layon are named as defendants in the suit, and as of Tuesday, they’ve both filed responses saying the girl’s suit was inappropriately filed in Luzerne County.

Layon’s filing, made by his defense attorneys Adam G. Klein and Wendell V. Courtney of Harrisburg-based Smigel, Anderson & Sacks, suggests the girl’s lawsuit doesn’t substantially prove any reason for it to have been filed in Luzerne County.

The girl claims Layon forced himself on her in a meeting Aug. 15, 2017, allegedly “gnawing” on the girl’s ears and forcing his tongue down her throat in the Danville hospital.

The lawsuit was later amended, adding a phrase saying that “some occurrences related to this transaction occurred in Luzerne County.”

But Layon’s lawyers point out that the lawsuit, filed by Kingston attorney Ed Ciarimboli, doesn’t explicitly list what these occurrences actually are.

As such, Layon’s attorneys join Geisinger’s in requesting the case be transferred to Montour County.

Layon is also claiming there is not enough evidence against him to justify the suit’s allegations against him or to necessitate paying restitution, and is asking for the suit to be dropped.

Geisinger, who were sued for negligence for allegedly allowing Layon’s abuse, previously filed a similar objection to the suit, claiming the change of venue would cause unnecessary difficulties for Geisinger Danville employees called to testify.

Ciarimboli filed the suit in Luzerne County as a “neutral venue,” and previously said he expects the suit to remain in Luzerne County.

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