Written by: Jeremy Baumhower
On October 18, 1996 a Lucas County jury awarded two Toledo women a large sum of money as a result of a lawsuit filed against Toledo Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Elliott Saferin, his partner and his wife, Sandra Saferin. The lawsuit filed by Terri L McCormick and Susan Kern, was looking for compensatory and punitive damages for sexual harassment, assault & battery, breach of contract, slander, sex discrimination and whistleblowing. The lawsuit had alleged Dr. Saferin made “unwelcome physical advances and physical contact” and “inappropriate sexual propositions” to the plaintiffs.
The lawsuit had also alleged the employees witnessed “unsafe, unsanitary and unlawful activities… and questionable billing practices.”
Toledo Plastic Surgeons and Dr. Saferin responded to the civil complaint by stating the women were fired because of poor work performance and that no complaints of sexual harassment were made during their employment.
Their “Prayer for Relief” asked for a judgement not to exceed $15 million dollars. The jury awarded nearly $3 million with 10% interest. According to records all amounts were paid.
Nineteen years later one of the victors in the Toledo Plastic Surgeons and Saferin lawsuit, has filed a similar civil complaint. On November 23, 2015, Susan Kern of Orchard Trail, filed a “complaint with jury demand” in Lucas County Common Pleas against Dr. Innocent Ubunama and Midwest Vascular/Midwest Surgical Center.
In her previous complaint; Susan Kern was awarded $1.1 million dollars for being subjected to sexual harassment, breach of contract, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The new civil complaint looks very similar to Kern’s previous lawsuit. Ms. Kern alleges that her former employer was engaged in “several billing schemes.. that were intended to defraud Medicare, Medicaid”. Kern further alleges “within a few months of the start of (Kern)’s employment, defendant Doctor began subjecting (Kern) to gender-based harassment, making derogatory comment about (Kern)’s behavior. Kern claims the Doctor, “on more than one occasion” told her that he “should have hired a man”. The accusations continue, “Doctor accused (Kern) of being ‘too close to’ the other female employees” and “on more than one occasion called (Kern) a common street walker, a lesbian, and/or a pimp”.
During the Kern v Saferin case; the plaintiffs Kern & McCormick submitted a Psychological evaluation prepared by Center for Effective Learning. These documents labeled “Plaintiff’s Exhibit 8”, give a first hand-account “History of the Sexual Harassment of Susan Kern”. “He (Saferin) made numerous comments such as ‘You can be my girlfriend” or “You can be my date”. “In January 1991, Susan had breast surgery performed by Dr. Saferin. Following the procedure, she reports “My body and breasts were his” “He thought he owned them.. like he had created me”. The documents further allege the “Results of Sexual Harassment” were as the following– “Currently, (Kern) becomes very upset and emotional when she must relive her experiences at TPS.” “She feels she has difficulty with interpersonal relationships due to the trauma of the harassment. She has not had a date of sexual relationships in five years. She does not leave her home unless ‘absolutely necessary’ because Dr. Saferin told many people she was a thief.” Please note the jury disagreed and dismissed her allegations of slander.
Susan Kern and her sister/roommate Terri Kern, have been leading the public campaign to fire Washington Local School Superintendent Patrick Hickey. They have alleged Mr. Hickey is a “pedophile” with a history of having inappropriate relations with children. Ms. Kern has used a colorful array of language and vague threats on social media while discussing the pending WLS issue. As seen in the screenshots below.
The 2015 lawsuit “prays” for back pay and front pay, compensatory & punitive damages, attorney fees, pre and post-judgement interest and additional monies “the court may deem appropriate”.
A call to Ms. Kern’s attorney seeking comment has been unanswered.
Here are the documents as referenced above.
SUSAN KERN VS INNOCENT UBUNAMA/MIDWEST VASCULAR &MIDWEST SURGICAL CENTER (2015)
KERN VS SAFERIN & TOLEDO PLASTIC SURGEONS COMPLAINT (1996)
KERN VS SAFERIN & TOLEDO PLASTIC SURGEONS JUDGEMENT (1996)
PLAINTIFF’S EXHIBIT 8: The Psychological Evaluation of Susan Kern (1996)
TOLEDO BLADE ARTICLE 12/21/94