WFMY News reports that a Greensboro woman has been charged with performing medical procedures without a proper medical license. Police say that Lauretta Cheek became the subject of an investigation when one of her “patients” filed a complaint against her. The “patient” claimed that a friend took her to see Cheek so that she could receive enhancement injections in her buttocks. After the procedure, she began to have severe complications and visited the emergency room in Charlotte, North Carolina on two separate occasions.
The patient filed a complaint with the health department and that is when the police launched their investigation into Cheek’s practices. The patient told investigators that she found out about Cheek’s cheap butt injections through the grapevine at her job as an exotic dancer. Apparently these enhancements were important for her career, but not important enough that she would go through the proper procedures to procure them. Police say that the procedure took place inside a hotel room and cost the patient a total of $500.00.
Cheek faces criminal penalties for her actions. She has been charged with a misdemeanor count of Practicing Medicine without a license. This, however, is not Cheek’s first rodeo. Back in 2008, she was charged with one count of Practicing Medicine without a license and one count of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud/Forgery. At the time of the new misdemeanor charge filed against her, she was still on probation for the 2008 charges. It is likely that these new charges amount to a violation of her probation, so it possible that Cheek may be serving out the remainder of her sentence inside a cell.
In addition to these criminal charges, Cheek faces potential civil liability from this patient and any other person who received her injections and suffered injury. However, there’s a problem. North Carolina is one of the few states that follow the doctrine of pure contributory negligence. Pure contributory negligence prevents the plaintiff from recovering from the defendant in a negligence action if the plaintiff is even 1% at fault for his or her injuries.
North Carolina is also unique in that its contributory negligence law is statutory. Thus, the patient is going to have a difficult time establishing that she was not negligent in attempting to receive a bargain butt injection in the back room of a cheap hotel. It is likely that a jury would find that she was equally at fault for her injuries. Further, given North Carolina’s pure contributory negligence position, even if the jury found that her failure to exercise reasonable care for her own safety amounted to only 1% fault, she would still be barred from recovery.
If however, Cheek’s actions are deemed to be grossly negligent, pure contributory negligence is not a bar to recovery. Thus, whether the “patient” can recover will depend on how the jury characterizes Cheek’s actions. If her actions amount to only ordinary negligence, the patient may be barred by contributory negligence. On the other hand, if her actions can be described as willful, wanton, or grossly negligent, contributory negligence will not prevent her from recovering from her injuries.
North Carolina is only one of five states that adhere to this strict rule of recovery. Successful navigation of North Carolina’s negligence laws requires the skill of capable attorneys. The attorneys at Arnold & Smith are skilled Charlotte personal injury attorneys. If you or someone you know have been injured, please do not hesitate to call (704) 370-2828 for a free consultation today.
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