USC, Dr. Tyndall Sexual Harassment
USC students and alumna have filed a class-Action settlement resolving claims related to gynecologist George Tyndall, M.D. that will require USC to adopt and implement procedures for identification, prevention and reporting of sexual and racial misconduct, as well as to recognize all of Tyndall’s patients through a $215 million fund that gives every survivor a choice in how to participate. The settlement is subject to court approval.
The settlement’s three-tier structure allows class members to choose how much they want to engage with the claims process. Those who do not want to revisit a private, traumatic event can simply keep the guaranteed Tier 1 payment of $2,500. Those who choose to provide additional information in a claim form about their experience with Tyndall and how it affected them are eligible for up to $20,000 and those who choose to provide an interview are eligible for up to $250,000. The special master and her team of experts will evaluate claims and allocate awards to Tier 2 and Tier 3 claimants. This focus on choice ensures that all class members receive compensation while giving each class member the autonomy to decide for herself how involved she wants to be in the settlement process.
Payment for each class member will be determined as follows:
Tier 1: Every class member is eligible for a Tier 1 payment of $2,500, simply by virtue of being a Class member. The Tier 1 payment is simply a guaranteed minimum payment; all class members are also eligible to make claims for Tier 2 or Tier 3 payments. Under no circumstances will a class member be required to return a Tier 1 payment.
Due to limitations in USC’s records, class members will receive their Tier 1 payments in one of two ways:
(i) Those class members identified through USC’s existing health center records (which cover the majority of the class period), will be automatically mailed a Tier 1 payment check for $2,500 once the settlement is final. Class members will be notified if they have been pre-identified as class members through USC’s records.
ii) Those class members who cannot be identified through USC’s records must submit (online or by mail) a simple signed Statement of class membership Form. The claims administrator will then confirm student status or, for non-students, evaluate the claimant’s evidence of Class membership. Tier 1 payments of $2,500 will be sent upon confirmation of class membership.
Tier 2: Each class member has the option to submit an online or written claim form describing her experience with Tyndall, the impact on her, and the harm she suffered. The special master’s team will assess each claim form, and if determined credible, and that the conduct or statements described fall outside the scope of accepted medical standards of care applicable during the relevant time, or that the conduct or statements are otherwise actionable, the special master will award a Tier 2 payment between $7,500 and $20,000.
Tier 3: Tier 3 is for class members who, in addition to the written claim form, are willing to provide information about their experience and its impact in an interview by the special master’s team. That team will assess each claim form and interview, and if determined credible, and that the conduct or statements described fall outside the scope of accepted medical standards of care applicable during the relevant time, or that the conduct or statements are otherwise actionable, the special master will award a Tier 3 payment between $7,500 and $250,000, subject to pro rata adjustments.
Some key features are:
- Accountability: Defendants will pay a total sum of $215 million to the class, net of attorneys’ fees and costs. USC will implement institutional changes to protect students and prevent abuse. These changes were developed by leading experts in the field, and include policy and procedure changes at the USC Student Health Center; appointment of an independent women’s health advocate; and convention of a task force—including an independent expert specializing in university best practices related to prevention and response to sexual assault and misconduct—to recommend university-wide changes to prevent sexual violence on campus.
- Immediacy and Certainty: Providing compensation to class members should not take years of risky and re-traumatizing litigation. The settlement offers guaranteed relief to victims far more quickly than protracted litigation with its uncertain results.
- Choice and Sensitivity: The settlement’s three-tier claims structure allows class members to choose whether and in how much detail they wish to tell their story. Tier 1 is for those who do not wish to engage; every class member is eligible for a guaranteed minimum $2,500 payment, no questions asked. Those payments will be automatically sent to all known class members; any other class member need only submit a simple statement of class membership to claim her Tier 1 payment. In addition to the guaranteed minimum, every class member is eligible to make a claim for up to $250,000. Those who wish to tell their story in writing on a simple claim form are eligible for up to $20,000 (Tier 2). And those who choose to further engage by providing an interview are eligible for up to $250,000 (Tier 3). All Tier 2 and 3 claims will be evaluated by a court-appointed independent special master who will also make all allocation decisions.
- Simplicity: The Settlement’s claims process is simple by design—no action for Tier 1, simple claim form for Tier 2, simple claim form and interview for Tier 3. This is to make the process easier and more comfortable for victims, and to ensure they can complete it without having to hire an attorney. To the extent any Class member wants help navigating even this simple process, Interim class counsel stand prepared to provide all necessary assistance, without reducing class members’ compensation by taking any attorneys’ fees or costs out of it.
- Privacy: The settlement structure and process is designed to provide a safe, private place for victims to tell their stories—to the extent and in the way they choose—and get compensation for the harms they suffered without having to go through invasive, adversarial, public, slow and risky litigation.
If you were violated by USC's gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall, find out your rights »
USC failed to protect its students.
A PATTERN OF IMPROPER BEHAVIOR
According to recent investigations, Dr. George Tyndall, the full-time gynecologist at the University of Southern California's student health clinic sexually harassed, violated and engaged in wildly inappropriate behavior with female students who sought his medical care. News outlets state he saw tens of thousands of female patients during his time at USC. The university knew of his behavior since at least the 1990s.
Reports state Dr. Tyndall's behavior included inappropriate touching, unnecessary penetration with his hands, lewd comments, photographing hundreds of his patients, and other acts of sexual harassment. Some colleagues were concerned Dr. Tyndall targeted USC's Chinese students.
Hagens Berman believes those who were abused and harassed by Dr. Tyndall deserve payback.
Official complaints of Dr. Tyndall's behavior began to surface at USC in the 1990s, but despite the university's knowledge of Dr. Tyndall's behavior, it did not report him to the agency responsible for protecting the public from problem doctors. USC did nothing, for decades, as more and more female students were sent into Dr. Tyndall's office.
Both patients and nurses at USC accused Dr. Tyndall of "creepy" behavior, including inappropriate touching of his patients. Still, despite this knowledge, the university balked, allowing him to continue to practice. Not until 2016 was Dr. Tyndall finally suspended after a nurse approached USC's rape crisis center. According to the Los Angeles Times, "...in a secret deal last summer, top administrators allowed Tyndall to resign quietly with a financial payout."
USC did not act on its knowledge of sexual harassment and the violation of its students by its own employee. USC did not notify Tyndall's patients or patients' parents when he was suspended. USC did not report Dr. Tyndall to the Medical Board of California.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT LITIGATION
Hagens Berman's attorneys are experienced in representing victims of sexual harassment and assault. The firm represents six women on behalf of a class of all victims who were harassed or otherwise assaulted by Harvey Weinstein, seeking to hold him and his co-conspirators accountable for a years-long pattern of sexual harassment and cover-ups.
Hagens Berman's attorneys also recently achieved a nationwide sexual harassment settlement on behalf of 16,000 women and also tried the first ever sexual harassment case in Washington state. Your claim will be handled by lawyers experienced in sexual harassment and abuse litigation.
KNOWING YOUR RIGHTS AND PROTECTIONS
If you experienced sexual harassment or other inappropriate actions at the hands of USC's Dr. Tyndall, contact our legal team. Our secure messaging service offers a safe space to those speaking out. Your information and comments will be sent directly to our legal team.
Hagens Berman has the knowledge, experience and resources. Our firm strives to protect the rights and safety of victims everywhere. Let us take a stand for you.
Hagens Berman's Sexual Harassment Legal Team
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