UCLA/Heaps Victims - Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently asked questions about the investigation into UCLA and Dr. James Mason Heaps for sexual harassment and violations, FAQs and helpful answers about the suit provided by Hagens Berman's legal team.

Frequently Asked Questions

About the Class Action

What is the investigation about?
What is the intended outcome?
What types of damages are you seeking?
How does a class-action lawsuit work?
What are the benefits of being a part of a class-action lawsuit?
What is the statute of limitations on a case like this?

Representation

If I submitted my information to you on your website or by email, do you represent me?

About Hagens Berman

Why should I contact Hagens Berman?

What to Expect

If I sign up with Hagens Berman, what can I expect?
How long will it take to resolve this?
How much money can I expect?

Contact

How do I ask a question about the case?
 


ABOUT THE CLASS-ACTION INVESTIGATION AGAINST UCLA & DR. HEAPS:

What is the investigation about?
This investigation is brought on behalf of women who were harassed and sexually abused by Dr. James Mason Heaps while seeking medical care at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)’s student health center. The investigation seeks to hold Dr. Heaps and UCLA accountable for the decades-long systemic sexual violations that occurred on UCLA’s campus and for the university’s cover-up.

What is the intended outcome?
We want justice and systematic change. UCLA’s Dr. Heaps saw thousands of female patients during his time at UCLA, and the university knew of his behavior for years but failed to take action. It is our hope that this investigation will expose UCLA for its blatantly irresponsible behavior that led to the violation of women over the course of decades, and bring them justice.

What types of damages are you seeking?
When a case is filed, the plaintiffs suing UCLA will serve as a proxy for the proposed class of all other women who were harassed and sexually abused at UCLA’s student health center by Dr. Heaps. He chose to violate the very people seeking his help and UCLA knew about it. The case will seek damages for the significant physical and emotional distress they endured then, and continue to endure now.

How does a class-action lawsuit work?
In a class action, the plaintiffs ask the judge to certify a class, which allows a decision on the merits of the case to be decided after presenting the facts related to a representative plaintiff’s experience. This way, the rights of thousands of people can be efficiently decided without each person having to present their individual case to the court.

If the Court finds that UCLA and Dr. Heaps did engage in wrongdoing or a class-wide settlement is reached, all class members will have an opportunity to prove-up their damages.

My local attorney recommended that I sue UCLA and Dr. Heaps on my own. What are the benefits of being part of a class-action lawsuit?
There are many benefits to participating in a class action: 

  • If the Me Too movement has taught us anything, it’s that there is strength in numbers. Dr. Heaps engaged in a pattern of improper behavior, including touching patients inappropriately during pelvic exams and making sexually suggestive remarks about their bodies. For decades, UCLA has silenced the women who were violated by Dr. Heaps, willfully ignoring the alarming complaints.
  • Each women’s story – put together with the pattern of assault suffered by all class members – has the potential to effect real change in how complaints of sexual misconduct are handled on university campuses from now on.
  • You do not have to pay any advance or hourly fees to your attorneys, and your attorneys will be among the finest and most respected plaintiffs’ lawyers in the country;
  • Your attorneys will pay all fees and costs associated with prosecuting a lawsuit, which are only recoverable if you are successful;
  • Your attorneys will have the collective bargaining power of hundreds of class members;
  • If a class-wide settlement is obtained, you will have the right to review the proposed settlement and then decide whether or not to be included in it. If you decide not to participate, you will retain the right to sue (or continue to sue) on your own. For many claims, the statute of limitations will begin to run only after you exclude yourself from the settlement; the law in some states may differ.

What is the statute of limitations on a case like this?
The statute of limitations can vary depending upon the state law applicable and the causes of action asserted. However, in this case, we believe that the statute of limitations was tolled until the Los Angeles Times exposed Dr. Heaps’ heinous acts and UCLA’s cover-up on May 15, 2018. 

If I am involved in the case against UCLA and Dr. Heaps, can I still sue on my own?
If a class action is certified, and you do not opt out of the class or a proposed class settlement, then you will not be able to sue Dr. Heaps and UCLA for the same claims that were resolved in the class action. However, if you choose not to accept a proposed settlement, or choose to opt out of the class, then you will retain whatever rights to sue you had prior to the class action.

REPRESENTATION:

If I submitted my information to you on your website or by email, do you represent me?
In a class-action lawsuit, when the case is first filed, the lawyers who file it have a formal attorney-client relationship only with the class representative plaintiffs who are named in the complaint that is filed. However, we will speak with you if you submitted information to us, and discuss with you whether we should enter a formal attorney-client relationship.

ABOUT HAGENS BERMAN:

Why should I contact Hagens Berman?
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a class-action law firm with nine offices across the country and a team of more than 80 attorneys. The firm has been named to the National Law Journal’s Plaintiffs’ Hot List eight times. Hagens Berman’s attorneys achieved a nationwide sexual harassment settlement on behalf of 16,000 women and also tried the first ever sexual harassment case in Washington state. More about the law firm and its successes can be found here.

WHAT TO EXPECT:

If I sign up with Hagens Berman, what can I expect?
You can expect that our firm will fight vigorously for your rights as a victim, and right the wrongs that Dr. Heaps, UCLA, and members of UCLA’s Board of Directors committed.

How long will it take to resolve this?
It is hard to predict how long it will take a lawsuit to resolve. We will ask the court to establish an aggressive schedule that moves the case forward.

How much money can I expect?
Hagens Berman will fight for the largest possible recovery for class members against UCLA and Dr. Heaps. At this early stage of the litigation, it is difficult to predict what compensation each class member will ultimately receive.

CONTACT:

How do I ask questions about the case?
You may email our legal team directly using UCLA@hbsslaw.com or call 1-888-381-2889.

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