Before a jury could hear a word of testimony, a former psychiatrist and a woman who sued him, alleging that he sexually abused her while she was his patient, settled the case Friday in Baltimore County Circuit Court.
Nelson H. Hendler, 65, a pain specialist at the Mensana Clinic in Stevenson whose license was revoked in 2006, settled the lawsuit after hearing two of the plaintiff's attorneys present a summary of their case to Judge Lawrence R. Daniels earlier in the week.
The terms of the settlement were confidential.
Hendler, who still gives medical advice online, has settled several similar lawsuits in the past. At a motions hearing this week, Daniels said he would permit three of the women who accused Hendler of sexual misconduct in those cases to testify against him again.
The testimony of two other women, one of whom had accused Hendler of raping her while she lay in a bed at the clinic, was disallowed because their allegations did not follow the same pattern.
Katharine Porwick and Kathleen Cahill, two of the plaintiff's lawyers in the most recent case, had alleged that the doctor would gain the women's trust, get them hooked on pain medications and, while they were at their most vulnerable, take advantage of them sexually, sometimes by groping them during examinations.
Frequently, Porwick told the judge, Hendler would dispense medications such as morphine, Dilaudid and Oxycontin to the women only if they engaged in sexual acts with him.
"Now wasn't that worth it?" Hendler asked a patient after one such exchange, according to E. Dale Adkins, the third attorney on the plaintiff's team.
At the same hearing, Hendler's lawyer, Thomas Morrow, had said that his client would deny the plaintiff's allegations.
In 2007, Hendler was sentenced to probation before judgment on a count of possession with intent to distribute drugs. He was ordered to serve 18 months of supervised probation and 150 hours of community service.
Despite the revocation of his license, Hendler counsels people online and charges $49.95 each time someone takes his Mensana Clinic Pain Questionnaire.
The address for the business, 1718 Greenspring Valley Road, is the same as that of the clinic he once ran, and the Web site carries testimonials, including a 1996 referral letter from one doctor who calls Hendler a "superb diagnostician in difficult pain disorders," and adds, "I know you will be in good hands under his care."