Class-Action Lawsuit Against Former USC Gynecologist Dr. Tyndall Grows to 27 Women Alleging Sexual Violations

06/13/2018

Latest amended complaint filed by law firm representing dozens of former USC students

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LOS ANGELES – Dozens of women have now filed suit against the former gynecologist at the University of Southern California (USC), Dr. George Tyndall, in a mounting class action naming the university, its board of trustees and Dr. Tyndall responsible for decades of sexual violation and molestation of female patients, according to Hagens Berman.

The amended complaint, filed June 13, 2018, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California adds six plaintiffs, totaling 27 women who have stepped forward to tell their stories in the lawsuit seeking to hold Dr. Tyndall and USC accountable for the decades-long systemic sexual violations that occurred on USC’s campus and the university’s cover-up.

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.

The complaint details the experiences of plaintiffs who endured feeling “sexualized and objectified” by Dr. Tyndall for their ethnic backgrounds, and “hopeless and humiliated” by his invasive and inappropriate touching. Plaintiffs reported that he made them undress in the room with him present, and subjected his patients to unnecessary digital penetration. Tyndall also asked deeply personal and invasive questions about patients’ sexual activity and sexuality, making them feel they were present “for his entertainment and exploitation.”

“Dr. Tyndall’s actions and demeanor were vulgar, abusive and completely unacceptable,” said Elizabeth Fegan, partner at Hagens Berman representing the proposed class of women against USC and Dr. Tyndall.

The lawsuit also shows repeated behavior by Dr. Tyndall to complicate visits, including his requesting unnecessary return visits for simple prescription refills, repeated and unwarranted pelvic exams, and actions that made the plaintiffs feel distressed, violated, objectified and in many instances, avoid seeking further gynecological care.

“The women who sought care from Dr. Tyndall trusted him and USC to uphold basic promises to protect them and because they needed medical care,” Fegan added. “Dr. Tyndall chose to violate the very people seeking his help, those who would be most vulnerable, and what’s worse, USC knew about it.”

The lawsuit states Dr. Tyndall was expressly indecent with his patients who were non-heterosexual, harassing them with specific questions about their sex lives.

“Jane Doe C.L. found Dr. Tyndall’s line of questioning appalling,” the suit states, adding, “She was highly disturbed by his interest in details about her sex life and sexual preferences. It seemed to her as though Dr. Tyndall was asking questions about her sexual orientation for his own amusement and curiosity.”

The lawsuit accuses USC of brazen negligence in failing to stop his violation of female students. Dr. Tyndall oversaw tens of thousands of female patients during his time at USC, and the university knew of his behavior since at least the 1990s but failed to take action. According to the complaint, ultimately, in 2017, the university began termination proceedings. However, USC did not contact law enforcement, the attorney general or the medical licensing board, nor did USC inform Tyndall’s patients.

“On all accounts, USC failed to provide its female students with safe, appropriate and professional healthcare,” Fegan said.

Seek Help

Your protection is Hagens Berman’s top priority. We welcome any information, and those who contact our firm may remain anonymous in their potential case. Hagens Berman will request that the Court permit our clients to proceed anonymously as a Jane Doe. Our attorneys have experience in protecting plaintiffs who wish to remain anonymous, both as whistleblowers and as survivors of sexual misconduct.

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.

Recent news headlines have brought these heinous acts to the forefront, and many victims have bravely stepped forward to tell their stories. Hagens Berman continues this fight, working to help achieve justice for those who have been victim to sexual violation, and enforce systemic change. Tell us about your case.

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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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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.

Under the stipulations of the proposed settlement, there exist three tiers of claims available to class members to apply for payments from the settlement fund:

  • Tier 1: Each Settlement Class Member, who can be identified through existing health center records, or who submits credible evidence of being a patient of Dr. Tyndall at the USC student health center for the period from July 14, 1997 through June 21, 2016, will be mailed a Claim Award in the form of a check for $2,500.  In addition, Settlement Class Members can choose to apply for additional compensation through Tier 2 or 3.
  • Tier 2: Each Settlement Class Member has the option to submit an online or written claim form (the “Claim Form”) describing her experience, the impact to her, and/or the damages she suffered. That Claim Form will be reviewed by a Court-appointed Special Master. If the Special Master determines that the Claim Form is credible, and that the conduct or statement(s) described fall outside the scope of accepted medical standards of care applicable during the relevant time, or that the conduct or statements are determined to otherwise be actionable, the claimant shall receive a Claim Award of no less than $7,500 and up to no more than $20,000.
  • Tier 3: Tier 3 is reserved for those Settlement Class Members who desire to provide further evidence of conduct by or statement(s) from Dr. Tyndall and their impact. Each Settlement Class Member who submits a Tier 3 claim will be interviewed by a forensic psychologist, or her team, or other experts, regarding the Settlement Class Member’s experience and its impact on her. The expert will provide an assessment to the Special Master. Based on all information, the Special Master will determine whether the Claim Form is credible, the conduct or statement(s) described fall outside the scope of accepted medical standards of care applicable during the relevant time, or the conduct or statements were otherwise actionable, and based on an assessment of the emotional distress and/or bodily injury to the claimant, the Special Master will recommend a Claim Award of no less than $7,500 and no more than $250,000.

In class actions, the court must approve attorneys’ fees and costs. USC and Dr. Tyndall have agreed to pay the attorneys’ fees and costs up to $25 million in addition to the settlement fund. This means Class Members may apply for the compensation described above, which will not be reduced by attorneys’ fees and costs.

The settlement is open to every woman who ever had an appointment with Dr. Tyndall, meaning many women who would have never have come forward may be awarded substantial compensation without having to go through the rigorous and much lengthier process of litigation.

We believe that among the best aspects of this proposed settlement for the class is that it gives you two things USC and Dr. Tyndall stole from you: privacy and a choice. Under this settlement, you have the benefit of participating as much or as little as you wish - the choice is yours.

Download the Settlement FAQ »

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about this case. We will continue to update you as developments happen.

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 »