Health Law & Business News

USC Student-Patients Want $215 Million Pact Ok’d (Corrected)

Nov. 19, 2019, 3:18 PMUpdated: Nov. 19, 2019, 7:38 PM

Patients alleging the University of Southern California did nothing to stop a doctor who sexually abused them at an on-campus medical clinic are urging a federal court in California to grant final approval to a $215 million class action settlement.

Reaction to the proposed agreement between USC, physician George Tyndall, USC’s board of trustees, and hundreds of patients has been overwhelmingly positive, class action counsel told the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Nov. 18.

Only 774 of the over 12,000 class members and over 150,000 potential class members given notice of the proposal have formally opted out, the patients said. No class member has objected to the proposal, they said.

The settlement provides three avenues for patients seeking relief, the motion said. Class members who have no desire to pursue the matter further would automatically receive $2,500, it said. Second-tier claimants who fill out a claims form describing their experiences with Tyndall and how they were affected can receive up to $20,000 each. Members of the last tier, reserved for patients who fill out a claims form and participate in an interview, are eligible to receive up to $250,000 each.

About 18,782 Tier 1 claims, 1,746 Tier 2 claims, and 1,197 Tier 3 claims have been submitted so far, according to the patients. Conservatively, the patients expect there to be 16,299 total claimants after the claims are reconciled and de-duped.

All claimants would automatically receive payouts of $2,500. Additional payouts based on the number of total claimants likely will average $15,000 for Tier 2 claimants, and $125,000 for Tier 3 claimants, less the $2,500 they already received, for a total of of $192.6 million, the patients said. Based on a more liberal estimate of 18,782 total claimants, the total payout would be $215.4 million, sightly higher than the settlement amount, they said.

The court previously rejected the proposed agreement over concerns about how the money would be paid to claimants. It tentatively approved the current settlement in June.

A final hearing is set for Jan. 6, 2020 before Judge Stephen V. Wilson.

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, and Girard Sharp LLP represent the class. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP represents USC.

The case is In re USC Student Health Ctr. Litig., C.D. Cal., No. 2:18-cv-4258, motion for final settlement approval filed 11/18/19.

(Correction added in fifth and sixth grafs clarifying expected average amount of payouts.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Mary Anne Pazanowski in Washington at mpazanowski@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Patrick L. Gregory at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com

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