UPDATE: Sexual harassment lawsuit against Sanford, UND partially dismissed

Gavel on sounding block
Gavel on sounding block(Source: Gray News)
Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 10:57 AM CDT|Updated: May. 29, 2023 at 11:48 AM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - UPDATE: A sexual harassment lawsuit involving North Dakota’s only medical school and the state’s largest healthcare provider has been partially dismissed.

In court documents filed in April 2022, Dr. Fiona Axelsson alleges her family medicine program director in residency sexually harassed her and multiple other female coworkers. She claims when it was brought to the Sanford Health’s attention, her claims were ignored.

Court records allege it started in July 2020 when Dr. Jason Myrmoe started as the Family Medicine Residency Program Director. Documents state Dr. Myrmoe would make comments such as, “you’re too emotional,” to Dr. Axelsson as she was working. Documents also allege Dr. Myrmoe would “unashamedly check Dr. Axelsson out, moving his eyes up and down, very slowly, leering at her.”

Dr. Axelsson made several complaints to HR regarding Dr. Myrmoe, and eventually in February of 2021, Sanford HR and UND met with Dr. Axelsson and told her they found the “allegations of sexual harassment against Dr. Myrmoe to be true,” court documents allege. Records also say multiple other women came forward with similar accusations.

Eventually, Dr. Myrmoe was removed as the director of the program and put in another clinic to continue work in family medicine.

Court documents state Dr. Axelsson suffered from mental health struggles, including depression and suicidal thoughts, PTSD and substance use disorder because of the alleged harassment.

In April 2023, documents were filed in federal court dismissing the lawsuit against UND’s medical school, but the stipulation “does not affect Plaintiff’s claims against the other defendants whatsoever.” A federal judge signed the dismissal with prejudice, meaning Axelsson cannot re-file the same claims against UND in the future, on April 12, 2023.

As of this publication, the case is slated to go to trial on Oct. 6.

Sanford Health released a statement to Valley News Live in 2022 stating the following:

“We are aware of the lawsuit filed by Dr. Axelsson. We will defend this case vigorously. We will be filing our response soon and cannot comment further on pending litigation.”

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