Judge Approves USC Settlement with Ex-Gynecologist’s Sexual Abuse Victims for $215M
Hundreds of students and alumni have come forward to accuse former gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall of sexual misconduct during physical exams.
JANUARY 9, 2020 UPDATE: A federal judge approved on January 6 the $215 million class-action settlement between the University of Southern California (USC) and some of George Tyndall’s alleged sexual abuse victims. Under the settlement, about 17,000 former patients who were treated by Tyndall can be compensated for as little as $2,500 and up to $250,000, reports NBC Los Angeles.
Most likely the special master who will oversee the monetary awards will be Irma E. Gonzalez, who is a retired judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
Tyndall has also been criminally charged with sexually abusing 16 patients at the clinic on campus. He has pleaded not guilty.
Original February 14, 2019 article:
The University of Southern California has agreed to a $215 million settlement with the alleged victims of its former-gynecologist, George Tyndall.
Attorneys of the women who claim they were sexually abused during physical exams, say a proposed lawsuit settlement, which needs a judge’s approval, was filed Tuesday in federal court, reports NBC News.
More than 225 women have filed lawsuits against the former doctor and USC, claiming the school mishandled and ignored allegations of sexual abuse. Tyndall has denied all allegations.
According to the lawsuit, every patient who claims to have been sexually abused by Tyndall between 1989 and 2016 will be eligible for a minimum of $2,500.
Patients who submit written accounts to a special master evaluation claims will collect between $7,500 and $25,000, according to the LA Times.
Women who comply with an interview with the special master will be eligible for an award of up to $250,000.
Elisabeth Treadway, a 2001 USC graduate and participant in the settlement, says she plans to do an interview.
After going to Tyndall for symptoms that turned out to be herpes, she says the doctor told her to keep her diagnosis to herself or people “would know what kind of girl I was…that I was promiscuous and slutty.”
A team of experts in gynecology, psychology and sexual trauma will work with the special master to calculate each patient’s award.
The second part of the settlement requires the university to put procedures in place to identify, prevent and report sexual abuse and racial misconduct on campus.
USC has agreed to create a position for an “independent women’s health advocate” to help with these new procedures. Employee training will be improved, staff will increase so female students always have the option to see a female doctor and background checks will be conducted to seek out any history of sexual harassment amongst staff.
U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson will review the terms of the settlement worked out by USC and a team of lawyers.
The Department of Education is investigating what USC administrators knew about the physician, and more specifically when they knew.
John Manly, who represents some former patients, says he plans to protest the settlement in court.
“We’re going to ask the court to reject it until there is real discovery, the [Department of Education] finishes and the district attorney finishes. What’s the rush?” he said, adding that the class-action deal “allows USC to keep their secrets, and that does not do a service to anybody.”
The settlement does state that USC can back out of the agreement if a certain number of women decide not to participate.
Layn Phillips, a retired federal judge who mediated MSU’s $500 million settlement with victims of Dr. Larry Nassar, led negotiations in the Tyndall suit.
“It is my considered judgment that plaintiffs would be unlikely to have obtained more money and benefits without going through years of discovery and trial, where they would face substantial risks of a less favorable outcome,” he said.
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