A civil lawsuit against Judith M. Doyle, a gay and lesbian community activist and former family therapist, has been settled without coming to trial in Long Beach Superior Court.
Attorneys for Doyle and the plaintiff, Patricia A. Lamis, appeared before Superior Court Judge Norman Gordon on July 27 and agreed that Lamis should receive compensation, in six figures, for emotional, mental and career damages stemming from a sexual relationship she had with Doyle in the early 1980s. Doyle’s attorney, Peter Zomber, would not reveal the exact value of the award, saying he was not sure if the attorneys involved had agreed to disclose the amount.
Zomber said Doyle had counseled Lamis until April, 1983, but the sexual affair did not begin until four months later.
Doyle’s insurance carrier, American Home Assurance, agreed to cover the settlement but reserved its right to recoup its losses from Doyle.
“Nobody walked away from this thrilled to death,” Zomber said.
Meanwhile Doyle, whose license was revoked July 18 by the state Board of Behavioral Science Examiners, will begin an appeal of that decision Sept. 24. At issue is the lack of a procedure of formally documenting how a client-therapist relationship is terminated.
“It was standard in the early 1980s to not take notes (during a counseling session) and the question now is how to prove that a relationship ended when a patient says such a discussion never occurred,” Zomber explained.
Doyle, who practiced in Long Beach, formerly worked as director of the AIDS Response Program of Orange County.