Attorneys representing hundreds of women who claim they were sexually abused by former USC campus gynecologist George Tyndall announced an $842 million “global settlement” of lawsuits against the university Thursday, describing the resolution as the largest of its type ever reached against a university.
Details of the settlement, which covers 702 plaintiffs, were announced during a Thursday afternoon court hearing.
“The sheer size of this settlement is testimony to the enormous harm that the depraved action of George Tyndall caused our clients,” according to a statement from the law firm of Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, which represents 234 of the plaintiffs. “It also speaks to the culpability of USC in employing Tyndall for 30 years and ignoring volumes of complaints and evidence of his misdeeds.”
There was no immediate response from USC to the settlement.
USC officials have repeatedly denied allegations of a cover-up relating to Tyndall and have said new protocols were implemented at its Student Health Center to ensure any complaints are investigated and resolved by appropriate university officials and authorities. Additionally, the university said it has hired female, board-certified physicians and introduced patient education materials about sensitive examinations.
The settlement is on top of a $215 million class-action resolution reached in federal litigation last year. That settlement was expected to provide all class members — about 17,000 former patients who received women’s health services from Tyndall — compensation of $2,500 and up.
But Tyndall and USC were also sued in state court by hundreds of other women who opted out of the federal settlement. Their attorneys were critical of the federal resolution, saying it has actually provided only limited payments to individual plaintiffs, with none of them receiving more than $96,000.
“I’m sure our clients will be glad they didn’t settle for less,” attorney Howard Janet said in a statement. “Our results are a testament to the extraordinary work done by these plaintiff lawyers to ferret out the truth. It’s also a reflection of this country’s mindset after the Me Too movement. Institutions who let sexual predators operate with impunity are finally being held accountable.”
Hundreds of women have come forward with allegations of abuse by Tyndall under the guise of gynecological exams during his time at the university, with some complaints dating back to the late 1980s.
According to attorneys with Los Angeles-based Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos and Baltimore-based Janet, Janet and Suggs — who combined to represent 136 of the plaintiffs — a third-party administrator will review specific damages amounts for each plaintiff and allocate the proceeds.
“This is a tremendous vindication for all the women who suffered abuse at the hands of a disgusting doctor who had to endure inaction and a cover-up by USC,” said Nicole Haynes, one of the plaintiffs in the case.
Tyndall was placed on leave by USC in 2016 and retired with a financial settlement in 2017.
The various lawsuits have alleged that Tyndall used his position as a trusted and credentialed medical professional to commit a series of abusive acts toward his patients, such as forcing patients to undress completely in front of him while he watched, groping patients’ breasts and making racist, misogynistic and sexually harassing comments to patients.
The lawsuits contended that USC was aware of Tyndall’s sexual abuse of female student patients for decades and continued to grant him unfettered sexual access to the young students in his and USC’s care.
Tyndall, who has denied wrongdoing, was originally charged in June 2019 with 18 felony counts of sexual penetration and 11 felony counts of sexual battery by fraud involving 16 women dating back to 2009, with the alleged victims ranging in age from 17 to 31. He pleaded not guilty and was released from jail on bond about two months after his arrest.
Last year, Tyndall was charged with five counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person and one count of sexual battery by fraud involving five other women, with the crimes allegedly occurring between 2011 and 2105.