UCLA Sexual Abuse Settlement Granted Final Approval
U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner in the Central District of California has granted final approval of a $73 million class action settlement of sexual abuse claims against UCLA and its oncology OB/GYN Dr. James Heaps.
The settlement will ensure the implementation of robust procedures for identification, prevention, and reporting of sexual misconduct in the clinical setting. In addition, the settlement creates a $73 million fund to compensate Heaps’s former patients.
The settlement offers three tiers of compensation. All class members will receive an automatic Tier 1 payment of $2,500 and can apply for an additional award. Tier 2 claimants can receive a total of $12,500, and Tier 3 claimants are eligible to receive up to $250,000, or more in extraordinary cases. Tier 2 and Tier 3 claim awards are contingent upon providing additional proof that will be confidentially reviewed by a special master and medical experts experienced in handling sexual abuse claims.
Elizabeth Kramer of Erickson Kramer Osborne, along with co-counsel from Girard Sharp and Gibbs Law Group, negotiated the settlement with the UC Regents. The settlement is expected to benefit several thousand of Heaps’s former patients. The entirety of the $73 million settlement fund will go to the class members—related fees and costs will be paid separately by UCLA.
Hear Elizabeth's interview on Los Angeles NPR affiliate KCRW here.