On July 17, 2023, Horowitz Law filed a lawsuit in the Broward County Circuit Court against the East Hollywood franchise of Massage Envy in Hollywood, Florida, AAA G Development, LLC. The lawsuit is due to a sexual assault complaint filed in January 2021 stating that the Plaintiff was sexually assaulted by Massage Envy employee, Danis Diaz Delgado. The Massage Envy franchise is located at 1640 Sheridan Street, Hollywood, Florida, 33020. The Plaintiff in the lawsuit is represented by sexual abuse attorneys Adam Horowitz and Dolores Scheller of Horowitz Law in Fort Lauderdale.
According to law enforcement records and media reports, on January 22, 2021, Danis Delgado was employed at a Massage Envy at the East Hollywood (West Lake Commons) location. On that day, Delgado was scheduled to provide a 60-minute massage to a 28-year-old female client. Toward the end of the massage appointment, Delgado massaged the client’s upper inner thigh, reportedly moved his hand to her vaginal area, and then rubbed her vagina over her underwear. The sexual assault continued to escalate, as Mr. Delgado proceeded to maneuver his hand underneath the victim’s underwear and began rubbing her vaginal area, including her inner labia and clitoris, with his fingers, and played with her pubic hair, according to the arrest affidavit. Delgado tried to remove the client’s underwear, and she told him not to do so. He allegedly replied, “it is just a massage.” Delgado continued to massage the client’s thigh and twirled her pubic hair. He then proceeded to squeeze and fondle the plaintiff’s breasts underneath the draping.
The client immediatetly reported the assault to the Hollywood Police Department and to the Florida Department of Health that evening. During the criminal investigation, the victim submitted her underwaer from the day of the massage for a DNA analysis and Mr. Delgado’s DNA was found on the interior crptch portion of the under garment.
Delgad was arrested on February 9, 2023, after the DNA evidence was found. A combination of the evidence gathered and the woman’s sworn statement gave police probable cause to arrest Delgado. Delgado, age 47, moved to Texas after the criminal investigation began. Texas law enforcement officers arrested him in Richmond, Texas, on a warrant and extradited him back to Florida to appear in Broward County criminal court where he was charged with felony sexual battery and simple battery. Denis Delgado has been a licensed massage therapist in Florida since June 2020. On March 22, 2021, the Florida Department of Health issued an Emergency Order restricting Delgado’s massage therapy license on account of this incident at Massage Envy.
Count 1: Negligent Hiring
Defendant owed a duty to Plaintiff to use reasonable care to ensure her safety, care, and well-being while she was obtaining spa services. These duties encompassed the hiring of massage therapists such as Mr. Delgado. Defendant breached this duty by failing to exercise reasonable care to protect the Plaintiff from sexual misconduct and lewd and lascivious acts committed by its agent, Mr. Delgado.
Priorto hiring Mr. Delgado, Defendant knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known that Mr. Delgado was unfit for the intimate duties forwhich he was hired and had a temperament and/or history that rendered him unfit to be alone and in a position of trust with unclothed female clients, and/or posed a risk of perpetrating unwanted sexual contact.Despite having such information, Defendant hired Mr. Delgado without any limitations on his employment or adequate supervision.
COUNT II: Negligent Retention
Defendant breached this duty by failing to exercise reasonable care to protect the Plaintiff from sexual misconduct and lewd and lascivious acts committed by its agent, Mr. Delgado. After hiring Mr. Delgado but prior to the sexual misconduct perpetrated on the victim, the defendant knew, or should have known that Delgado wa unfit for the intimate duties assigned. The defendant retained Mr. Delgado without any limitations on his employment and took no action to warn or protect his female clients.
Count III: Negligent Supervision
Despite having such information, the defendant retained Mr. Delgado as a massage therapist without any limitations on his employment and failed to provide adequate supervision and oversight of Mr. Delgado, and otherwise took no action to mitigate the risk of harm or otherwise protect any of his female clients. As a direct and proximate cause of the foregoing, the Plaintiff has suffered injury and expense, including but not limited to, psychological and emotional injuries, mental anguish, and the loss of the enjoyment of life.
Count IV: Negligent Training
Prior to Plaintiff’s massage appointment, the defendant knew that male massage therapists at Massage Envy franchises were committing sexual assault and/or engaging in sexual contact with female massage clients at extraordinary rates and these facts were not generally known to the public. The high rate of sexual contact in the spa setting constitutes a dangerous condition of which its female clients, including the Plaintiff, were unaware and which should have been disclosed by Defendant to its female patrons, together with instructions on how to prevent, be prepared for, and respond to such incidents. The Defendant had a duty to implement reasonable policies and procedures to protect its guests, particularly with respect to a person employed on Defendant’s premises, who was placed in a position of control over a vulnerable guest and was in a position to do intentional harm to that guest.The Defendant did not have reasonable policies and procedures in place to protect female clients from sexual misconduct.
Attorney Adam Horowitz, who represents the victim in this case, said: “This arrest highlights the importance of prompt reporting of sexual assault. Although it is difficult for victims to report such a crime, the fact is that an arrest was able to be made here in large part because of the existence of DNA evidence which could have been lost if the victim had not immediately reported her assault.”
When clients schedule a massage, it is to decompress from the stresses of life. They trust that the massage therapists employed at the spa are carefully vetted and safe to engage with the public. It is unacceptable, immoral, and unlawful for any employee to touch a client in a sexual manner. Clients of massage therapists are placed in isolated, vulnerable settings where they can be subject to abuse by their massage therapists. Due to the potential for abuse that is inherent under those circumstances, massage therapists must possess good judgment and good moral character to practice massage therapy safely.
Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual assault lawsuits against massage therapists on behalf of clients who were inappropriately touched at Massage Envy franchises and other spas and resorts. If you have been a victim of sexual assault or sexual battery during a massage, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz for massage clients at [email protected] for a free consultation.