A woman who appeared on the “Dr. Phil” show as a teen in 2019 is suing Dr. Phil McGraw and the show’s parent company, ViacomCBS, for negligence, claiming she was sexually assaulted at a Utah treatment center that McGraw recommended to her parents.
Per the lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday and obtained by TheWrap on Thursday, Hannah Archuleta said McGraw and others associated with “Dr. Phil” made “unqualified, positive representations concerning Turn-About Ranch (Turn-About or the Ranch), a ‘troubled teen’ facility in Escalante, Utah, which representations omitted known risks of physical and emotional harm suffered by both prior guests of the Show, and others.”
The legal document states that “in reasonable reliance on Dr. Phil’s misrepresentations” during the Oct. 22, 2019 show, Archuleta’s father, Tony Archuleta, sent her directly from “Dr. Phil” set to the Turn-About Ranch. There, Archuleta, who was a minor at the time, said she “was sexually assaulted twice by a male Staff member, and then physically and psychologically abused by Ranch staff in retaliation for reporting her assailant.”
Jerry Sharell, a spokesman for McGraw and the “Dr. Phil” show, said in a statement to TheWrap Thursday: “After Hannah Archuleta’s appearance on ‘Dr. Phil’ in 2019, her parents chose to seek treatment at Turn-About Ranch. None of the defendants in this case had anything to do with her program at that facility, as documents signed by the Archuletas reflect. We understand that she subsequently sued Turn-About Ranch but that case was dismissed and recently refiled. This case will be vigorously contested.”
Archuleta’s lawsuit, which is being led by famed sexual misconduct attorney Gloria Allred, claims “on information and belief, one or more Defendants receive some form of consideration for recommending and sending the show’s minor guests to Turn-About Ranch.”
In response to the accusation against McGraw, the show and McGraw’s production company, Stage 29 Productions, Sharell told TheWrap, “There are not and never have been financial ties to Turn-About Ranch.”
Archuleta’s lawsuit against McGraw and ViacomCBS requests a trial by jury, and she is seeking damages for “physical sickness, emotional distress, humiliation” and lost wages.
Representatives for CBS, ViacomCBS and Paramount Pictures — who are also named in the lawsuit — did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment Thursday.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this story.