Brings Total Settlements Over Former Gynecologist’s Conduct to More Than $1.1 Billion
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The University of Southern California yesterday announced a $852 million settlement with 710 women who claimed in Los Angeles Superior Court litigation that they were sexually abused by George Tyndall, who was campus gynecologist for nearly three decades, bringing the total pay-out, combined with a previous settlement, to more than $1.1 billion, seen as a record amount for such litigation.
In a joint statement, USC and the attorney for the plaintiffs, said:
“This resolution was achieved with the assistance of private mediator and attorney Mr. Jeffrey Krivis, Esq., and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, the Honorable Daniel J. Buckley.”
John C. Manly, an attorney for the plaintiffs said:
“Our team is humbled by the courage of George Tyndall’s survivors, who endured this process, and hope this settlement brings them healing. Our team also acknowledges USC President Carol Folt and General Counsel Beong-Soo Kim, whose hard work and determination were critical to resolving this case.”
Folt—who took office in 2019, charged with cleaning house in light of widespread charges against Tyndall and a scandal over pay-offs to gain entry to the university—released this statement: “I am deeply sorry for the pain experienced by these valued members of the USC community. We appreciate the courage of all who came forward and hope this much needed resolution provides some relief to the women abused by George Tyndall.”
In this 2019 file photo, Dr. George Tyndall listens during his arraignment at Los Angeles Superior Court.
In a more expansion statement in an email to alumni, Folt noted that Tyndall “has not practiced medicine at USC since 2016 and is currently under house arrest awaiting trial on criminal charges.”
She commented: “These events have been devastating for our entire community. Everyone was horrified to learn of his conduct. When I arrived at USC in 2019, the university had already made the important step of moving USC Student Health services under Keck Medicine. This world-class medical center is now responsible for direct oversight of all patient care and physician conduct. Since then, we have taken many more steps to safeguard patients, students, staff, and faculty. Working every day to earn and restore trust in the university has been, and will continue to be, my top priority, as it will be for the Board of Trustees and the leadership of USC.
“With the expertise and commitment of so many people at USC, we implemented robust new protective measures, protocols, and oversights and enhanced safety. We also implemented comprehensive new governance and standards of care….”
Tyndall, 74, faces 35 criminal counts of alleged sexual misconduct between 2009 and 2016 at the university’s student health center. He has pled not guilty and is free on bond. Hundreds of women came forward to report their allegations to police but some of the cases fell outside the 10-year statute of limitations, while others did not rise to the level of criminal charges or lacked sufficient evidence to prosecute. Still, he faces up to 64 years in prison if convicted.
The $852 million settlement is believed to be the largest sexual abuse settlement against any university, according to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, as well as the largest personal injury settlement against any college or university. The lawyers say no confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements were attached.
In 2018, Michigan State University agreed to pay $500 million to settle claims from more than 300 women and girls who said they were assaulted by sports doctor Larry Nassar. That settlement was considered the largest at the time, far surpassing the $100 million-plus paid by Penn State University to settle claims by at least 35 people who accused assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky of sexual abuse.
Separately, USC earlier agreed to pay $215 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that applies to about 18,000 women who were patients of Tyndall’s. The individual payouts to those victims range from $2,500 to $250,000, and were given regardless of whether the women formally accused Tyndall of harassment or assault. The final payouts are expected to be issued this month. Allegations against Tyndall first surfaced in 2018 in an investigation by the Los Angeles Times, which revealed that the doctor had been the subject of complaints of sexual misconduct at USC dating back to the 1990s.
He wasn’t suspended until 2016, when a nurse reported him to a rape crisis center. He was able to quietly resign with a large payout the next year. Tyndall surrendered his medical license in September 2019, records show.
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