What are the terms of the settlement?
The university reached an agreement on an $852 million settlement with 710 former patients of George Tyndall who filed suit in California state court. Combined with the $215 million federal class action agreement reached in 2018 and other settlements, the total amount paid to the federal and state plaintiffs will exceed $1.1 billion and bring an end to litigation brought by former patients of Tyndall.
Why are you settling now?
It has always been our goal to resolve this litigation in a way that is fair to the women who were abused by Tyndall. We are pleased we arrived at a responsible agreement.
Why did these plaintiffs receive substantially more than those in the federal class action?
The federal class action covered a much broader group of women – anyone who saw Tyndall for a woman’s health exam regardless of what happened during the examination was included. They were able to recover compensation without the need to retain a lawyer, engage in litigation, provide information to USC in discovery or complete a deposition. In order to file in state court, plaintiffs had to retain counsel, consult with a mental health practitioner and allege that they were damaged in an amount greater than $250,000, which limited who could file state court lawsuits.
How many women will be compensated by USC under these settlements in aggregate?
In the federal class action settlement, 16,019 claimants received payments. Any patient who saw Tyndall was eligible to participate in the class action regardless of what happened during her examination. In the state court litigation, 761 plaintiffs received compensation.
What have you done to ensure this doesn’t happen again?
We have implemented sweeping institutional reforms to prevent anything like this from happening again. Most importantly, the university introduced a new governance for Student Health under Keck Medicine. We added robust new protections, protocols and oversights and have enhanced safety and wellness. We have established greater accountability with clear checks and balances, we have created new offices and added many more staff with professional expertise. (Please see the Institutional Changes document on this website.)
How is the university funding this settlement beyond insurance proceeds? Over how many years?
Due to careful stewardship, we will be able to fund the settlement over the next two fiscal years through a combination of litigation reserves, insurance, deferred capital spending, the potential sale of non-essential assets and careful management of expenses. It will not affect our planned restoration of merit increases and full retirement benefits to our faculty and staff nor will it have any effect on our robust financial aid program. No philanthropic gifts, endowment funds or tuition revenue will be redirected from their intended purposes.
Does this settlement affect the criminal case against George Tyndall?
What governance reforms have actually been implemented since Board Chair Rick Caruso’s announcement in November 2019?
The Board of Trustees recognized it needed to modernize its structure and operations to deal with emerging issues. Under Chair Caruso’s leadership the board established a special committee to examine best practices at peer institutions and worked closely with faculty, staff, students and alumni leaders to determine how to become more engaged. After an extensive process, the committee recommended a series of significant changes to the board’s structure, processes and membership, which the board has fully embraced, including reducing the size of the board and enacting age and term limits for service.