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Sex assault victim awarded $8M; doctor faces more charges 

An $8 million judgment was entered by the Superior Court of New Hanover County, N.C., for a patient who was sexually assaulted by her dentist while she was under anesthesia.  

The patient was having her wisdom teeth extracted at Wilmington Oral Surgery and was sedated when her oral surgeon, Dr. Michael Hasson, sexually assaulted her.  

“Our client placed her sacred trust in this surgeon to care for her while she was at her most vulnerable and then the unthinkable happened,” David Sherlin of Epstein Sherlin PLLC said. “For this man to commit these horrific acts after placing his patients under sedation is beyond reprehensible.”  

According to Sherlin, Hassen is now facing 29 criminal counts of similar conduct against other patients of his. Hasson is currently charged with nine counts of felony second degree forcible sex offense, three counts of felony indecent liberties with a minor, one count of felony statutory sex offense of a person under 16, and 16 counts of misdemeanor sexual battery.   

According to Sherlin, some of the victims learned they were assaulted after having memory of being assaulted while in altered states of consciousness, feeling pain and discomfort in their vaginal region after leaving Hasson’s office, and some reported portions of their clothes missing after Hasson treated them. 

“This judgment and award provide some solace to our client that the Court recognized the physical and emotional toll that she suffered as a result of the atrocious assault that was committed on her,” Sherlin said. 

The plaintiff was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages and $6 million in punitive damages. 

Is this a verdict or a settlement? Judgment  

Type of case: Negligence  

Amount: $8,000,000 ($ 2,000,000 in compensatory damages, $ 6,000,000 in punitive damages)  

Injuries alleged: Physical pain and emotional suffering related to sexual assault  

Court: New Hanover County Superior Court  

Date of verdict or settlement: March 2022 (judgment and award)  

Attorney(s) for plaintiff and their firm(s): David L. Sherlin, Epstein Sherlin PLLC, Raleigh, N.C.  

Was the opposing represented by counsel? No  

Were liability and/or damages contested? No  

Has the judgment been successfully collected? No 

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