Frequently Asked Questions
The university has agreed to resolve federal class action lawsuit claims involving Dr. George Tyndall’s patients who received women’s health services while he was affiliated with USC, pending court approval. The university’s singular focus continues to be our students, patients and community. In recent months, the university has taken corrective actions to heal our community. This settlement is another step on that journey.
Who does the settlement cover?
All female patients seen by Dr. George Tyndall at USC’s student health center for women’s health issues.
How much will USC pay under the settlement?
USC has agreed to pay $215 million under the settlement. Apart from certain administrative costs, all of that amount will be available for distribution to the class members. Any residual balance in the settlement fund after all class members are compensated would be contributed to charitable organizations that benefit women’s health and well-being.
What are the specifics of the settlement?
The settlement agreement is intended to provide Dr. Tyndall’s patients seen for women’s health issues at the student health center with support, compassion and sensitivity. All confirmed class members will be compensated $2,500. Patients willing to provide further details about their experience with Dr. Tyndall may be eligible for additional damage awards up to $250,000. In the coming months, class members should receive a notice with more details about the settlement. The settlement tiers are organized as follows:
- Tier 1: Individuals treated for women’s health issues by Dr. Tyndall will receive compensation of $2,500. This tier does not require any additional information about the patient’s experience.
- Tier 2: Allows patients of Dr. Tyndall the option to seek additional compensation of $7,500 to $20,000 by submitting a written claim form for evaluation by a court-approved, independent third-party known as a Special Master detailing their experience of Dr. Tyndall’s conduct, the personal impact on the patient, and any injury they wish to be considered.
- Tier 3: Allows patients of Dr. Tyndall the option to seek additional compensation of $7,500 to $250,000 by submitting a written claim form for evaluation by a court-approved, independent third-party known as a Special Master detailing their experience of Dr. Tyndall’s conduct, the personal impact, and any injury they wish to be considered. In addition, these claimants will also be required to provide information during a respectful, private interview by a member of the Special Master’s team.
Does the settlement include any other stipulations for the university?
Yes, the federal class settlement includes but is not limited to the following non-monetary, equitable relief provisions:
- Appointment of an Independent Women’s Health Advocate. The university will appoint an independent Female Health Advocate, selected with plaintiffs and subject to approval by the court, to ensure any complaints of improper conduct are adequately investigated and resolved by the appropriate university offices and authorities.
- Student Health Operating and Oversight Procedures. If it hasn’t already, the university will enact the following:
- Pre-hiring background checks for all new personnel, including physicians.
- Annual verification of credentials of all clinical personnel, including physicians.
- Annual education and performance review concerning preventing, identifying and reporting improper sexual or racial conduct.
- In conjunction with the Independent Women’s Health Advocate, adopt “Sensitive Exam” practices consistent with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Gynecological Practice guidelines.
- Maintain staffing so that all female students have the option of seeing a female physician.
- All students using the Student Health Center will be informed of the federal class settlement and provided with a brochure outlining what to expect during a visit.
- Annual training for all personnel who assist with Sensitive Exams on best practices for ensuring the safety and comfort of patients during exams.
- Annual training for personnel who have direct patient contact on the university’s policies for mandatory reporting of sexual harassment and gender-based violence; bystander training; and counseling or psychiatric treatment referral procedures.
- All students using the Student Health Center will be provided with plain-language notice of how to recognize and report sexual harassment and gender-based violence by a healthcare provider.
- Online and offline opportunities for anonymous patient feedback for the Student Health Center and its personnel.
- Expanded Sexual Misconduct/Violence Prevention Program. The university will expand the services of its Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention program, making it mandatory for all students and now including a new training program designed to prevent sexual misconduct and assault.
- Independent Consultant to Serve on Task Force. The Student Health Center is sponsoring the 2019 AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct in the Spring of 2019. An Independent Task Force Member will be appointed to serve on the Survey Task Force and have expertise in university best practices related to prevention and response to sexual assault and misconduct.
Are counseling services available as part of the settlement agreement?
The university continues to offer free counseling and support services to the current students to whom Dr. Tyndall provided women’s health services at the student health center without the direction of the court. Those services will remain available. USC is also offering the option of free counseling with a provider of their choice for all former patients of Dr. Tyndall. These services can be accessed through a third party without further contract with the University, we encourage any current or former patients who wish to receive support to visit https://website.praesidiuminc.com/wp/usc/ or call 888-961-9273 to arrange for services.
How much of the settlement will be used to pay for lawyer’s fees?
No part of the $215 million fund established under the settlement will be payable to the class attorneys. If the court awards attorneys’ fees, it will be paid from a separate fund.
Where is the money coming from to pay for this settlement?
The university has money in reserve and is working with its insurance carriers. This kind of payment will not come from tuition or donor funds.
When will class members receive their compensation?
Class action settlements must be approved by the court. The entire approval process can take six to eight months, or more. Once the court approves the settlement, further information will be provided to class members by an independent class settlement administrator with key information and dates. In the meantime, if you wish you can contact the independent settlement administrator at info@USCTyndallSettlement.com.
I believe I am a class member. What do I need to do now?
You do not need to take any action at this time. As of February 2019, the federal class action settlement has been filed for court approval and is expected to be reviewed by the Judge likely in the spring of 2019. If you’d like to provide updated contact information, as often former students’ physical addresses have changed, or would like to learn more about the settlement in the meantime, visit http://www.USCTyndallSettlement.com, or contact the independent settlement administrator at info@USCTyndallSettlement.com.
How can I learn more about the settlement?
To learn more about the settlement, visit http://www.USCTyndallSettlement.com, or contact the independent settlement administrator at info@USCTyndallSettlement.com.
Why haven’t I heard from USC about the settlement?
The court will appoint an independent settlement administrator to facilitate communication with class members. Their outreach will begin after preliminary court approval, likely in the spring of 2019. If you’d like to provide updated contact information, as often former students’ physical addresses have changed, or would like to learn more about the settlement in the meantime, visit the independent settlement administrator’s website at http://www.USCTyndallSettlement.com, or contact the independent settlement administrator at info@USCTyndallSettlement.com.
Why did it take so long for the settlement to be finalized and submitted to the courts?
The university has been working in collaboration with plaintiffs’ counsel, abuse experts and advocates and the court to include a number on non-monetary provisions in the final settlement agreement that will usher additional reforms to prevent all forms of sexual misconduct from happening on our campus. You can learn more about the non-monetary provisions above. Please see “Does the settlement include any other obligations for the university?”.
Do I have to participate in the class action?
No. Every class member can exclude herself from participation if she desires. Once the court approves the settlement, a notice with further details will be mailed to class members and disseminated in various other ways. This notice will explain a class member’s rights to participate or exclude yourself from the settlement.
What is USC doing to prioritize campus safety?
USC has taken many sweeping actions to prevent all forms of sexual misconduct from happening on our campus. For more information regarding the university’s commitment to change, please visit: https://change.usc.edu/summary
Can Dr. Tyndall’s patients still report their experiences?
Yes. Individuals with additional information or concerns regarding their experiences can report them to USC by calling this dedicated number: 833-889-8833 or by using this website: https://app.mycompliancereport.com/report.aspx?cid=usca. Individuals who wish to speak with law enforcement can contact the Los Angeles Police Department at 213-486-6910.