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USC Hires Lobbying Firm to Oppose Statute of Limitations Extension

USC is currently facing more than 400 civil lawsuits from alleged sexual assault victims of former gynecologist George Tyndall.

USC Hires Lobbying Firm to Oppose Statute of Limitations Extension

The school previously settled a class action lawsuit for $215 million.

In preparation for the hundreds of civil suits filed against the University of Southern California by former patients alleging sexual abuse by an ex-gynecologist, the school has hired a lobbying firm to oppose legislation that would extend the statute of limitations to sue private universities.

More than 650 women have filed lawsuits against the Los Angeles school and its former doctor George Tyndall, claiming the school mishandled and ignored allegations of sexual abuse by the doctor dating back nearly 30 years. The allegations came to light last May in an exposé by the Los Angeles Times.

In February, the university paid $215 million in a settlement of a class action lawsuit. As part of the settlement, USC agreed to pay up to $250,000 to alleged victims and $2,500 to any student treated by Tyndall.

As USC still faces over 400 civil lawsuits from alleged victims, the school hired Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross and Leoni LLP to lobby against Assembly Bill 1510, which would create a one-year window for lawyers to revive cases that are time-barred by California’s statute of limitations, reports The Daily Trojan.

The one-year window issued by AB 1510 would be made only for claims for damages “arising out of sexual assault or misconduct by a physician occurring at a student health center,” meaning it would also apply to the 21 plaintiffs who came forward alleging sexual misconduct by the school’s former sexual health physician Dennis Kelly.

USC previously paid $240,000 to Mercury Public Affairs for lobbying in 2017 and 2018. Mercury lobbied on behalf of the university on “Cal Grant A and other financial aid, health care, student-athletes, Title IX, Human Resource and employment requirements,” according to filings.

“Universities routinely contract with lobbying firms to assist with policy or legislative matters,” USC said in a statement regarding the newest firm’s hiring.

Under AB 1619, the current statute of limitations which was put into effect on January 1, the statute for adult victims of sexual assault was extended from two to 10 years after the assault. It also gives adult victims up to three years to file a lawsuit after discovery for actions.

Nielsen Merksamer previously lobbied for USA Swimming in opposition to legislation that would have extended the window for sexual assault victims to file civil suits, according to The OCR. The bill was passed by the legislature but was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown.

About the Author

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Amy Rock is Campus Safety's senior editor. She graduated from UMass Amherst with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Education.

She has worked in the publishing industry since 2011, in both events and digital marketing.

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One response to “USC Hires Lobbying Firm to Oppose Statute of Limitations Extension”

  1. James Lee says:

    It is incredible to think USC can use its political muscle and money to try and destroy efforts by victims of sexual assault to press their cases instead of dealing with them openly and honestly. It’s well known that many sexual assault victims take years to come to grips with their self-doubts and guilt and shame to come forward with their stories. That’s even tougher for gay men who may not have publicly come forward as to their own sexual identity let alone admit they were assault or molested or touched inappropriately by another male doctor as in the Dr. Dennis Kelly case. It’s just a sign of how morally corrupt USC has become now and a shame for the people of LA.

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