As USC President Steps Down, More Women Join Class-Action Lawsuit Against University and its Former Gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall

08/10/2018

Lawsuit grows to 44 women as class-action law firm continues fight for women’s rights and systemic change at USC

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LOS ANGELES – Attorneys at leading class-action law firm Hagens Berman are now representing 44 women against the University of Southern California (USC) and its former gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall, as the sexual abuse case causes USC’s president to step down.

If you were in any way violated or treated inappropriately by USC’s Dr. Tyndall during a medical examination, find out more about the lawsuit and your rights.

“USC’s response has been utterly abysmal, from its cover-up of Dr. Tyndall’s egregious actions, to its failure to report his behavior to the public and to parents, and now to the long overdue stepping down of its president, C. L. Max Nikias,” said Steve Berman, managing partner and co-founder of Hagens Berman. “Our class-action lawsuit seeks systemic changes to USC’s protocols and oversight, not just new figureheads, but real impacts that will create a safer campus at USC and at other universities vulnerable to this same string of abuse.”

The law firm’s latest class-action complaint filed on Aug. 9, 2018, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, details the rampant sexual abuse and violations of Dr. Tyndall, who subjected his patients to inappropriate touching, unnecessary penetration with his hands, lewd comments, photographing, and other acts of sexual harassment. The university knew of his behavior since at least the 1990s.

Systemic change in this case could mean changes to USC medical examination protocols, third-party oversight of USC’s student health center, and clear reporting requirements when any medical staff receives a complaint or is witness to a breach of medical protocols – no matter how small.

Were you violated by USC’s Dr. George Tyndall?

Hagens Berman’s expert legal team has compiled resources to help you sort through the confusion and emotion of this case to find strength, empowerment and clarity. Use our handy guides designed by our women attorneys fighting for the rights of women:

“Our team of attorneys is full of women with a breadth of experience speaking with – and fighting for – survivors of abuse, violence and traumatic experiences, and our top priority is to empower and protect anyone seeking our guidance in holding USC and Dr. Tyndall accountable,” added Elizabeth Fegan, partner at Hagens Berman representing the proposed class of women against USC and Dr. Tyndall.

Attorneys at Hagens Berman achieved a nationwide sexual harassment settlement on behalf of 16,000 women and also tried the first ever sexual harassment case in Washington state. The firm represents multiple 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.

Tell us about your case today.

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About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with ten offices across the country. The firm has been named to the National Law Journal’s Plaintiffs’ Hot List eight times. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at https://www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.

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Ashley Klann
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07/12/19: CASE UPDATE -- THE OFFICIAL SETTLEMENT WEBSITE IS LIVE

Emailed notice of the class action settlement has been sent to pre-identified class members and potential class members. Settlement notice packets will also be sent by U.S. mail. The updated official settlement website www.usctyndallsettlement.com is live.  Individuals now have the ability to file a claim online.  Note: the deadline to submit a claim is November 8, 2019.

06/12/19: USC, Dr. Tyndall Settlement Myth vs. Fact

Our new Myth vs. Fact settlement guide will help steer you through the latest case information as the suit culminates. Get the facts here  »  ​​USC, Dr. Tyndall Settlement Myth vs. Fact

04/18/19: Case Update

In light of Judge Wilson's order issued on Apr. 28, 2019, Hagens Berman's Steve Berman stated, "We appreciate Judge Wilson's careful scrutiny of this landmark settlement, and look forward to resolving his concerns. As is stated in the order, 'The Court takes no issue with the substantive terms of settlement between Plaintiffs and Defendants, and the Court believes that the proposed settlement, as is, ultimately may be fair and reasonable under the prevailing standards.'

"This settlement gives every single woman who saw Tyndall a choice in how they want to participate and hold USC accountable, while also forcing the school to change to ensure this doesn't happen again. We are confident our renewed motion for preliminary approval will address the Court’s concerns, lead to approval of this agreement, and provide these survivors the relief and measure of closure they deserve."

Read the order here »

02/14/19: Case Update

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.

11/08/18: CASE UPDATE

On October 19, 2018, hundreds of current and former students of the University of Southern California reached a proposed settlement in a class-action lawsuit against the university and Dr. George Tyndall for his alleged decades-long sexual abuse of patients that persisted despite USC’s knowledge.  The settlement provides for a $215 million common fund.

10/19/18:

$240 Million Proposed Settlement Reached in USC Gynecologist Sexual Abuse Class Action

Today, hundreds of current and former students of the University of Southern California reached a $240 million proposed settlement in a class-action lawsuit against the university and its former gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall, for his alleged decades-long sexual abuse of his patients that persisted despite USC’s knowledge, according to Hagens Berman. Read the press release »

10/04/18: Case Update

Hundreds of you have already come forward to speak your truth about the unacceptable behavior and abuse from USC's Dr. George Tyndall. Today, another woman has chosen to tell the world about the horrendous reality that women can and are abused by the people they entrust with their healthcare - their own family doctors and gynecologists. Renown journalist Connie Chung has bravely stepped into the spotlight to share her recollections and the aftermath of the assault she suffered. Read or listen here (content warning: sexual assault).

At Hagens Berman, we are fighting to make the world a safer place for women, both to come forward in safety and strength to speak about abuse, and to stop it from happening in the first place. Our attorneys welcome you to join our fight.

09/28/18: Firm Statement

At Hagens Berman, we believe no one is above the law, and that no position of power should shield someone from being held accountable.

Right now, we are witnessing the silencing, belittling and abuse that women everywhere in this nation are subjected to. They are subjected to a system that does not respect them. Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s continued nomination to the Supreme Court, and the backlash against the brave survivors who have stepped forward to report sexual assault, are both unacceptable.

We believe survivors. Our firm’s sexual harassment attorneys have protected their rights for decades throughout their legal careers, and we are dedicated to upholding the rights of the most vulnerable. Women should be heard, respected and protected from systemic abuse.

08/27/18: Anonymity & Your Protection

Please note: Your protection is our firm's top priority. If you wish to remain anonymous in your potential case, Hagens Berman will request that the Court permit you to proceed anonymously as a Jane Doe. Remaining anonymous in filing your case will allow you to avoid the spotlight.

Our attorneys have experience in protecting plaintiffs who wish to remain anonymous, both as whistleblowers and as survivors of sexual misconduct.

08/27/18: Consolidated Complaint Filed

On Aug. 27, 2018, Hagens Berman, on behalf of the plaintiffs' executive committee filed a 141-page consolidated class-action complaint in order to streamline the lawsuit. The consolidated case for In Re: USC Student Health Center Litigation includes 51 total plaintiffs and an expanded fact section. This filing combines all of the firm’s previous filings, as well as those of other firms named to the suit’s leadership committee. This will be the operative complaint for the class action in federal court.

Read the consolidated complaint »

08/14/18: Cases Consolidated & Leadership Appointed

On Aug. 14, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson selected Hagens Berman to chair the committee prosecuting the lawsuit.

On June 22, 2018, the firm submitted documents proposing that the court consolidate the many filed cases against USC and Dr. Tyndall, in order to streamline the lawsuit. In consolidating class-action cases, the court routinely appoints leadership positions. Hagens Berman will be in charge of prosecuting the case on behalf of the class in federal court and will lead the court-appointed Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee consisting of Hagens Berman and two other prominent firms. read more »