First California State Class Action Lawsuits Filed Against USC For Failing To Protect Students

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Sexual Abuse Allegations Against USC Gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall

Two class action lawsuits have been filed against the University of Southern California on behalf of female students who were allegedly sexually abused and illicitly photographed by a USC OB/GYN.

Janet, Janet and Suggs, LLC managing partner Howard A. Janet, one of the lawyers who spearheaded the $190 million settlement of the class action against The Johns Hopkins Hospital on behalf of approximately 8,000 women who alleged they were sexually abused and illicitly photographed by OB/GYN Dr. Nikita Levy filed one of the lawsuits. The other was filed by Mike Arias of Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos, LLP.

"The conduct alleged to have been committed by USC OB/GYN Dr. George Tyndall is eerily similar to that of Dr. Levy. As with the Hopkins case, this case centers on allegations of grossly improper pelvic exams that involved improper probing, at times without gloves, sexually charged remarks and illicit photographing of genitalia," said Mr. Janet.

"It appears that Dr. Tyndall, like Dr. Levy at Hopkins, violated the sacred trust between physicians and patients – specifically the trust between male OB/GYNs and patients – in a methodical and disturbing fashion by preying on young, unsuspecting women."

Dr. Tyndall practiced at USC's Engemann Student Health Center from 1987 until he was suspended in 2016.  He claimed in a recent article to have provided care to "thousands and thousands of Trojan women" during his time at USC.

The lawsuits allege that USC received repeated complaints from students and co-workers, but failed to take appropriate steps to investigate those complaints.  Finally, in 2016, USC hired an outside firm to investigate Dr. Tyndall's conduct, according to media reports. The firm, MDReview, is the nation's only physician-led peer review medical consulting firm. The investigation found that Dr. Tyndall "exhibited unprofessional and inappropriate behavior" and that his pelvic exams were outside "current standards of care."

"Shockingly, it appears USC agreed to enter a 'no finding' conclusion related to the investigation, characterize Tyndall's departure as a resignation, and actually provide him severance pay despite the findings from MDReview's investigation," said Mr. Janet. USC, in a recent press statement, took the position that it should have reported Dr. Tyndall to the Medical Board of California eight months earlier than it did. Mr. Janet said, "Given the multitude of complaints lodged to the University during much of Dr. Tyndall's tenure, there is a reasonable basis to conclude that USC should have reported him years, if not decades, earlier."

The lead plaintiffs for the classes are not identified because of the sensitive nature of the lawsuits. The lead plaintiff in each class is referred to as Jane Doe. "USC students treated by Dr. Tyndall had every right to expect that the University had thoroughly vetted him so as to be confident that he'd be practicing ethically and not violate the trust placed in him by students," said Mike Arias. "It is simply unfathomable that a world-renowned institution like USC would ignore repeated red flags reported to them and allow this man to remain in a position where he could continue his abuse of students."

The lawsuits also allege that many of the women targeted by Dr. Tyndall were of Chinese or other Asian descent.  Also participating in the representation from ASWT is partner Arnold C. Wang, who was born in Taiwan, Republic of China and is fluent in Mandarin, along with Kate Harvey-Lee, a Senior Trial Lawyer at ASWT with extensive experience in complex litigation and class action matters. 

Anabel Marquez