A woman who claims to have been sexually assaulted on a Utah ranch is suing Phil McGraw and ViacomCBS for negligence, claiming the popular television doctor recommended that she treat at the facility the day she appeared on his show to become.
In a lawsuit filed this week in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Hannah Archuleta is seeking unspecified damages for the damage she allegedly suffered in Utah after being on the “Dr. Phil ”show in October 2019 when she was 17 years old. The show is being produced on the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood.
According to the lawsuit, McGraw and his show staff members pressured the family to immediately send Archuleta to Turn-About Ranch in Escalante, Utah, for treatment. The complaint states that she suffered suicidal thoughts when her family sought help from McGraw, who, according to the lawsuit, is not licensed to practice psychology (he has a PhD in clinical psychology).
“DR. Phil said that ‘Hannah has to go to the ranch for a chance at a good life'” and that the matter was serious enough for his show, “‘to help her now and today'” it says it was in the lawsuit. The show’s staff promised that McGraw was “personally invested in the Archuleta family” and would continue to help them, the complaint said.
On the day of the taping, the show’s staff allegedly arranged for a medical service to take Hannah Archuleta from the Paramount soundstage on Melrose Avenue to the airport for the ride to the rural cattle ranch, which is billed as a place of trouble on their website Teens can bring their lives together through hard work and therapy. At the Turn-About Ranch young people can learn “leadership, teamwork, accountability and responsibility … in a real environment,” the website says.
The lawsuit, which was handled by the famous victims’ attorney, Gloria Allred, said the “Dr. Phil “volunteered to” pay for everything, including car rental and airfare, meals and housing for Hannah.
Within a few weeks, Archuleta had allegedly been groped twice by an unnamed male employee at the ranch, the lawsuit said.
Archuleta wrote letters to her family in Colorado seeking help. Her father Tony traveled to Utah, withdrew her from the program and filed a complaint with the local sheriff’s office, the lawsuit said. A representative from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the December 2019 report.
Hannah Archuleta further states that the “Dr. Phil’s show failed to inform her family of incidents that allegedly occurred at the ranch, including the murder of a warehouse counselor in 2016 by a troubled teenager.
“Hannah and her parents turned to Dr. Phil and the defendants because the defendants have shown themselves to be qualified and capable of helping people in need, ”says the lawsuit, which calls for a jury trial.
ViacomCBS declined to comment.
A McGraw spokesman Jerry Sharell said in a statement: “After Hannah Archuleta appeared on ‘Dr. Phil ‘in 2019, her parents decided to seek treatment at the Turn-About Ranch. None of the defendants in this case had anything to do with their program at that facility, as evidenced by documents signed by the Archuletas. We know she subsequently sued Turn-About Ranch, but that case was dismissed and recently re-filed. This case is being vigorously contested. “
The court records described the family’s emotional upheaval immediately after October 22, 2019, when the recording of “Dr. Phil ”segment: Tony Archuleta was reportedly encouraged to sign papers to have Hannah taken away. Hannah’s mother, Heather Archuleta, who suffered from an incurable disease, also suffered a panic attack backstage.
The lawsuit suggested that McGraw, Stage 29 Productions production company he co-founded, or another employee may have entered into a financial arrangement with Turn-About Ranch, but it was not elaborated on. “To the best of their knowledge and belief, one or more defendants receive some form of consideration for recommending and sending the underage guests of the show to the Turn-About Ranch,” the lawsuit said.
Sharell denied the charge. “There are and never have been financial ties to Turn-About Ranch,” Sharell said in a statement.
The lawsuit also alleges that the “Dr. Phil “show staff in October 2019 to help with the medical care of the late Heather Archuleta. The suit said the show didn’t help arrange the mother’s care.
Hannah Archuleta’s lawsuit seeks compensation for “physical illness, emotional distress, humiliation” and loss of wages.
In addition to McGraw, her suit names Peteski Productions, Paramount Pictures Corp., Stage 29 Productions of the McGraw family, CBS Broadcasting and ViacomCBS.
The Archuleta family separately sued Turn-About Ranch this week in a Utah court for assault, assault, negligent attitude and surveillance, and willful infliction of emotional stress. Representatives from the ranch did not respond to requests for comment.
In July, a former TV show host “The Doctors” filed a complaint against ViacomCBS and Stage 29 Productions with the New York State Division of Human Rights and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Dr. Ian Smith alleges racial discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation on the medical show produced by Jay McGraw, co-founder of Stage 29 Productions and son of Phil McGraw.