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UC pays record $ 700 million to women who accuse UCLA gynecologist of sexual abuse

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The University of California’s system on Tuesday agreed to settle the trials of hundreds of alleged victims of the former UCLA gynecologist, resulting in total lawsuits of nearly $ 700 million. the largest ever connected to sexual assault involving a state university.

The latest payments of $ 374.4 million cover 312 former patients who have sued, claiming that Dr. James Hips abused them under the guise of medical examinations between 1983 and 2018.

Given that Heaps specialized in cancer treatment, some plaintiffs had cancer, and a few had late-stage cancer with a terminal diagnosis. One of these women died before the settlement was approved by a Los Angeles County Supreme Court judge.

The last settlement comes on top of a The estimate is $ 243.6 million more than 200 women’s lawsuits and a A $ 73 million collective bargaining agreement involving more than 5,000 Heaps patients since 1983. In 2019, the UC system also paid $ 2.25 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a patient who claimed she was sexually assaulted in 2018.

Announcing plans to issue medical institution bonds, the UC system said the portion would be used to fund Heaps ’expected settlements because its available insurance coverage had been exhausted.

In a statement Tuesday, UCLA said the behavior allegedly committed by Hips was “condemning and contrary to our values.”

“We are grateful to all those who spoke and hope that this settlement is one of the steps towards curing the applicants. We are taking all necessary measures to ensure the well-being of our patients in order to maintain the trust and trust of the population, ”the university said.

“The settlement will not affect UCLA’s training, research and service, including patient care, student life and campus activities. This will be covered by UC’s system-wide insurance and risk financing program. Any additional resources required will be provided by UCLA Health and campus revenue. ”

At the heart of the lawsuit are allegations that UCLA has ignored numerous detailed complaints of abuse for decades. The UC system report found that UCLA has repeatedly failed to investigate allegations properly. UCLA has allowed Hips to return to practice in 2018 to find new victims, the lawsuits say, even though senior university officials were aware of the ongoing internal investigation into the allegations.

Attorney Jennifer McGrath, representing the plaintiffs, said UCLA turned a blind eye to decades of patient and staff reports because it was the highest-earning at UCLA Health. “It’s a culture of silence. she said. “UCLA has still not disciplined or fired those who make decisions that have allowed Hips to continue to practice.”

Darren Kavinoki, another plaintiffs’ attorney, said that although UCLA investigators had already gathered extensive evidence against Hips in 2018, the university “continued to pack its waiting room for months before his retirement and never announced that eradicated the alleged sexual predator ”until his arrest in 2019.

Heaps still collide criminal charges involving seven of these patients. He denied any wrongdoing.

UCLA declined to say whether other university officials had been disciplined. fired or forced to retire because of their Heaps-related actions. No one has been charged anymore.

The cost of settlements at UC exceeds payments from the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan to address the claim of patients who alleged sexual assault by school physicians. It also overshadows a settlement reached involving a sexual assault scandal in Penn.

That’s still less than the $ 1.1 billion paid by USC to settle the lawsuit of hundreds of women accused gynecologist George Tyndall sexual assault.

Some of Hips’ prosecutors called the settlement an excuse after years of complaining to a doctor and seeing little done.

In May 2021, a grand jury charged Hips Article 21 of the criminal offense – including sexual assault through fraud, sexual exploitation of a patient and sexual intrusion of an unconscious person – involving seven patients from 2011 to 2018. His trial is scheduled for later this year. If convicted, he could be sentenced to more than 67 years in prison. His lawyer insists that Hips acted properly.

“He insists on his innocence, and we are currently considering the case in the Court of Appeals,” said Leonard Levin, Hips’ criminal lawyer, who said he was seeking a court agreement to dismiss the grand jury’s indictment and close the case.

In a statement announcing the agreement, UCLA condemned the doctor, saying: “The conduct allegedly committed by Hips is condemnable and contrary to the values ​​of the university. Our first and highest duty will always be to the communities we serve, and we hope that this settlement will be one of the steps towards healing and closing down the applicants. We admire the courage of the plaintiffs and appreciate the commitment of the plaintiffs’ lawyers in resolving the claims. “

Since his initial arrest in June 2019, hundreds of women have claimed that Hips subjected them to inappropriate comments, sexually touched them during glove-free exams and simulated intercourse with an ultrasound probe.

The UC system acknowledged that employees received complaints about Hips dating back to the 1990s, and that even after it launched an investigation and prepared a detailed report in 2017, another year passed before he retired. UCLA has not made public statements about Hips ’alleged behavior since his retirement in 2018 after the school refused to extend his contract.

UCLA informed law enforcement of the charges against Hips on June 14, 2018. He was arrested in June 2019 and charged with several counts of sexual assault involving two patients

Hips ’medical license was suspended in 2019 after he pleaded not guilty to criminal charges.

Attorney John Manley, who spearheaded the $ 243 million deal, noted that the UCLA investigation revealed serious problems in the way the university handles the case.

This report showed that UCLA heap processing and four other doctors accused of misconduct, “sometimes either detained or inadequate, or both.” Hips was associated with UCLA from 1983 to 2018 in a variety of roles, including as a teacher in medical school and a physician-consultant at the Student Health Center.

The report noted that his medical students complained about forms of feedback, that he was “very vulnerable”, “very inadequate” and made “comments with hints”. In 1999, private practice colleague Michael Johnson referred the patient to Hips. The woman then informed Johnson of Hips’ inappropriate technique and comments. The committee said UCLA was unaware of the complaint.

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