A Baltimore personal injury law firm that helped reach a $190 million settlement with Johns Hopkins Hospital over a gynecologist accused of secretly recording his patients has helped secure another multimillion-dollar settlement against a university health care facility more than 2,500 miles away.
Janet, Janet & Suggs LLC was among many law firms that reached an $852 million accord with the University of Southern California this month resolving litigation alleging sexual abuse, assault and harassment of more than 700 patients by a long-time gynecologist.
JJS said it represented 136 plaintiffs with the Los Angeles law firm Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos LLP.
The average recovery is expected to be $1.2 million per plaintiff.
Andrew S. Janet, who helps lead JJS’s sexual abuse cases division, said JJS approached the Los Angeles firm more than a year ago about assisting in the litigation based on JJS’s experience in the Johns Hopkins case.
“We thought it was a fair degree of expertise that we could bring,” Janet said Friday. “We work very well together.”
In the USC case, Dr. George Tyndall is alleged to have sexually attacked a patient and to have inappropriately touched and photographed others in a manner unrelated to medical care during a career that spanned from the late 1980s to 2016.
Tyndall, who has pleaded not guilty to 35 counts of sexual misconduct, faces up to 64 years in prison if convicted.
USC’s settlement marked its second with alleged victims of Tyndall. Last year, the Los Angeles school resolved a class-action claim that provided for a top individual payment of $250,000, according to plaintiffs’ counsel.
The 702 plaintiffs in the second settlement — including JJS’s clients — had opted out of last year’s resolution in order to pursue their claims.
Janet said the clients’ decision to forgo last year’s settlement followed discussions with them regarding the adequacy of the compensation for the harm caused.
“We saw that the cases had more value,” Janet said. “The class action was premature and inadequate to the damages that these plaintiffs had suffered.”
The more than $1 million per plaintiff settlement “absolutely sends a message,” he added.
“It sends a message that universities which let sexual predators operate with impunity are finally being held accountable for their acts and omissions,” Janet said. “I think it sends a message that when lawyers have the opportunity to ferret out the truth, these institutions will be held accountable.”
USC President Carol L. Folt said in a statement Thursday that she is “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,” Folt stated.
In the Johns Hopkins case, JJS was among eight law firms who sued the school in 2013 on behalf of thousands of patients who alleged gynecologist Nikita Levy secretly recorded them.
Levy, who began working at Hopkins in 1988, killed himself about two weeks after he was fired in 2013 amid the allegations and just days before the lawsuit was filed. The $190 million settlement was announced in July 2014.