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The University of Southern California (USC) has agreed to settle a federal class-action lawsuit for $215 million. The suit was brought by current and former students after one of USC's campus gynecologists, Dr. George Tyndall, was accused of sexual misconduct and inappropriate language. There could be as many as 17,000 members of this federal class-action; Tyndall practiced gynecology at USC for 27 years.
The settlement applies only to the federal lawsuits, and provides at least $2,500 to "all class members." However, interim President Wanda Austin said "Patients who are willing to provide further details about their experience could be eligible for additional compensation up to $250,000."
Legal Battles Just Beginning
Notwithstanding this class-action, Tyndall and USC still have many legal obstacles to face before this is over. Tyndall is being investigated by police, though charges have not been filed. Famed attorney Gloria Allred is representing numerous plaintiffs in state action cases. Earlier this month, attorney John Manly said that 93 former USC students have filed two new lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct. All totaled, there are more than 400 patient suits filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. This will likely be the first of many pay-outs USC will endure before this case is over.
Many Plaintiffs Have Issues With This Settlement
Many plaintiffs are not ready to close the door on this case just yet. Questions still remain as to why USC continued to let Tyndall practice at the university clinic after numerous complaints were received by the university as far back as the early 1990's. Others criticize how this settlement was used as a discovery roadblock, delaying the taking of sworn testimony and exchange of records, which may have revealed even more damaging evidence. It is believed that many plaintiffs will opt out of this settlement and pursue their own case; the settlement's $250,000 cap irritated many plaintiffs' attorneys. Mike Arias, who represents about 80 women in state court cases, said he had a number of "very prominent" clients who suffered damages far in excess of that amount, and are interested in forging their own case, outside of the settlement. As a frame of reference the Michigan State settlement reached over the Larry Nassar sexual assaults was for $500 million to be divided among 332 women; there is a basis for plaintiffs' attorneys to be irate.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of George Tyndall, or any doctor, contact a local sexual abuse lawyer today. The statute of limitations has been extended in many sexual assault cases. A legal adviser can tell you if you can still bring a claim, and best ways to proceed with your case.