Class Action Launched Against Toronto Plastic Surgeon “Dr. 6ix”
Howie, Sacks & Henry, Waddell Phillips and Beyond Law have joined forces to launch a class action against Dr. Martin Jugenburg (the self-styled “Dr.6ix”). Led by an all-female legal team, the action seeks compensation for past patients of Dr. Jugenburg and alleges that during the period from January 1, 2017 to December 13, 2018, Dr. Jugenburg operated video surveillance cameras throughout his clinic including in the private consultation rooms, and in the operating theatre. The claim asserts that there were no warning signs about the surveillance cameras, and patients were not provided with the opportunity to opt out of being under surveillance while at the clinic, which was a breach of the patients’ privacy.
The notice period has ended and the case is proceeding towards examinations for discovery. There are currently no motion or trial dates to advise of, and no further updates to report on.
Class action certification hearing:
The action was certified as a class proceeding by order of the Superior Court of Justice on May 10, 2021. Notice of the certification has been approved by the Court and can be found below.
The claim originally also included allegations that Dr. Jugenburg posted images of some patients onto the internet without their consent. These allegations have not been allowed to proceed as a class action, and will have to be pursued individually. If your images were posted to the internet without your consent by Dr. Jugenburg, then we would like to hear from you. Please reach out through the confidential “Contact Us” portal, or you can email or call Valerie Lord directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-644-5849.
Please view Class Counsel’s webinar about this proposed class action: https://vimeo.com/383307868
CPSO disciplinary proceedings:
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (“CPSO”) has now heard two disciplinary proceedings against Dr. Jugenburg for professional misconduct. In a decision dated September 24, 2020, the CPSO found that Dr. Jugenburg: permitted a television crew to film a patient’s surgical procedure without her informed consent, which resulted in a breach of her privacy; posted another patient’s images on his social media without consent, failing to ensure her privacy; and failed to give adequate consideration to the patients of his clinic, through the design and operation of the clinic’s video surveillance system.
As a result of its findings that Dr. Jugenburg breached his patients’ privacy, the CPSO ruled that Dr. Jugenburg committed acts of professional misconduct. Read the full decision here.
The CPSO held a penalty hearing in relation to Dr. Jugenburg’s professional misconduct on February 1, 2021, during which a further complaint was added to the charges.
On May 12th the CPSO released its penalty decision and has suspended Dr. Jugenburg’s licence for 6 months, starting on June 12, 2021. The decision can be found here and further details can be found on the CPSO website.
Use of Video Cameras
Dr. Jugenburg is a plastic surgeon who owns and operates the Clinic in downtown Toronto. His practice is focused on cosmetic surgical procedures for women, including breast augmentations, tummy tucks and liposuction.
In December 2018, CBC Marketplace reporters discovered that Dr. Jugenburg had installed cameras all around the Clinic premises. Those cameras recorded patients in waiting, consultation, examination and operating rooms without their consent. There were no generally visible notices posted on the Clinic premises indicating that cameras were in use.
Non-consensual posting on social media
Posting under the name Dr. 6ix, or “realdrsix”, Dr. Jugenburg often shares photos of his patients, as well as videos of his operations, to his followers on an array of social media, including Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more. Dr. Jugenburg/the Clinic have over 100,000 followers on Instagram, alone.
Several patients alleged that Dr. Jugenburg posted photos of themselves on his social media, or allowed their operations to be filmed, without their consent. These photographs were taken with patient consent for medical purposes, and were then misused by Dr. Jugenburg for personal and business advertising purposes through the social media postings.
CBC’s reporting prompted an investigation by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, which found that Dr. Jugenburg’s blanket use of surveillance cameras for non-health care purposes, particularly in areas where patients might be undressed and therefore at their most vulnerable, was unacceptable and in contravention of the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2014. Read their decision here.
As of February 28, 2019, Dr. Jugenburg entered into an undertaking with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, confirming that he will not operate security cameras or video surveillance in any areas of the Clinic where patient encounters may occur, and requiring him to post clear warnings in entranceways or waiting areas about any security cameras or video surveillance recording devices.
The class proceeding
The motion for certification of this action as a class proceeding was decided on May 10, 2021. The court has certified the action on behalf of the following Class:
All patients who attended the Toronto Cosmetic Surgery Institute from January 1, 2017, to December 13, 2018.
This is the time during which the surveillance cameras were operational throughout the Clinic. Any patient who attended the Clinic during this time period will automatically be included in the Class unless they choose to opt out of the class action. Details about how to opt out will be included in a formal notice that will be sent to class members once its form has been approved by the court.
There is no cost to you to participate in the class action. The lawyers are working on a contingency fee arrangement, and will only be paid from the proceeds of the litigation, if it is successful.
The claims alleging that Dr. Jugenburg posted images to the internet without some patients’ consent was not allowed to proceed as a class action. Anyone who has a claim against Dr. Jugenburg in respect of internet postings should contact our office through the confidential “Contact Us” portal, or you can email or call Valerie Lord directly to discuss the potential of pursuing your own claim.
For more information, or to ensure that you are provided with important notices about the class action as it progresses, please complete our confidential online form and a member of our team will get back to you, typically within one business day.
Your Body, Your Self, Your Surgeon, His Instagram – Wired Magazine, January 2021
Lawsuit alleges cosmetic surgeon filmed naked patients without their consent – Toronto Sun, November 2019