Nov 5, 2020
Sexual misconduct – which includes assault, abuse, and harassment-is an all-too-common occurrence in our society, and all perpetrators must be held accountable for their wrongdoings. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), one American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. And, every eight minutes, that sexual assault survivor is a child. While young people and women are at the highest risk of being sexually assaulted or abused, men and boys are also targeted. However, only six out of every 1,000 perpetrators serve time for their crimes.
Thanks in large part to the #MeToo Movement, survivors have started coming forward more frequently, taking justice into their own hands. Survivors of sexual assault can bring an independent lawsuit against a perpetrator (or the person responsible for the actions of the perpetrator) in civil court. This lawsuit may be brought regardless of whether the state also prosecuted the perpetrator in criminal court. Compensation for survivors is important in ensuring that the consequences of sexual misconduct are severe. Survivors of sexual assault are likely to suffer from long-term post-traumatic stress disorder after the incident. Additionally, survivors are more likely to have difficulty in school or at work, and suffer from drug and alcohol dependency.
Oftentimes, even when the perpetrator is convicted on criminal charges, this does little to help “make the survivor whole.” While no amount of money can erase what was endured, a financial damages award can certainly lessen a survivor’s physical, mental, emotional, or economic burdens that resulted from the assault or abuse. Many high-profile civil sexual abuse, harassment, and assault lawsuits have been filed in recent years. Prevailing in a civil lawsuit against a perpetrator of sexual misconduct can make a significant difference in a survivor’s healing process.
Dordulian Law Group (DLG) is dedicated to helping survivors of sexual abuse, assault, and harassment recover the damages they deserve, and bringing justice to those who have been wronged.
In many cases, the party to a sexual abuse, harassment, or assault lawsuit may not want to go to trial, and therefore will propose a “settlement offer.” This can be any amount of money that will cease the case proceedings and compensate the plaintiff, but most often without a finding of liability against the defendant. Settlement amounts for sexual abuse cases can be substantial, and highly beneficial for survivors. Below are details regarding 10 of the largest sexual abuse, assault, and harassment settlements in the United States to date.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding a specific case, sexual misconduct settlements can reach substantial amounts totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. Recently, nine-figure settlements have been recovered in a number of major sexual assault civil lawsuits.
– Michigan State University, Dr. Larry Nassar: Michigan State University agreed to a massive $500 million settlement with more than 300 survivors of Dr. Larry Nassar. Dr. Nassar is notoriously known for sexually abusing dozens of young female gymnasts. This settlement is considered one of the largest in the history of sexual abuse lawsuits against U.S. universities.
– University of Southern California: The University of Southern California (USC) was hit with a civil lawsuit alleging that the school’s former gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall, repeatedly sexually assaulted patients. Medical staff and patients had reportedly complained to USC, but insufficient action was taken. Multiple USC students filed sexual assault lawsuits against both Dr. Tyndall and the University for their negligence. The basis for these lawsuits concerned Dr. Tyndall using his position of power to sexually assault female students. The lawsuits resulted in a $215 million settlement from USC.
– Redlands Unified School District: Eight former Redlands Unified School District student survivors were awarded a $15.7 million settlement from the California institution in a sex abuse lawsuit. Six of the students were survivors of molestation perpetrated by a former special education teacher and golf coach between 2015 and 2016. The two other student survivors were sexually abused by multiple teachers.
–Archdiocese of Los Angeles: One of the largest settlements to date involving a religious institution was paid by the Archdioceses of Los Angeles in 2007. The Archdioceses paid $660 million to settle claims with 508 survivors of clergy sexual abuse. Every survivor who brought a complaint received approximately $1.3 million in compensation. Some of the survivors in this lawsuit were abused more than five decades ago. AB 218’s three-year “lookback window” is currently in effect through the end of 2022, allowing any survivor of childhood sexual abuse to file a civil lawsuit seeking financial damages, regardless of how long ago the crime occurred. To learn more about AB 218, visit our recent blog outlining all the ways in which the legislation can help childhood sexual assault survivors pursue justice.
–San Diego Priests: On September 7, 2007 in San Diego, 144 survivors of sexual abuse were awarded $198.1 million by priests of San Diego Clergy. Survivors received an average of $825,000 each. Among the perpetrators listed in the complaint were 48 priests and one coordinator of the altar boys.
–The Diocese of St. Cloud: The Diocese of St. Cloud recently reached a $22.5 million settlement with clergy abuse survivors. After attempted negotiations with attorneys in numerous sexual abuse claims failed to reach a resolution, the diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August 2020. An independent trustee appointed by the bankruptcy court will administer the $22.5 million settlement to survivors. A committee representing the survivors will have input in the administration of the funds.
– Fox News: Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. reached a $90 million settlement of shareholder claims arising from the sexual harassment scandal at its Fox News Channel. However, the defendants did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement.
– Roger Ailes: Gretchen Carlson, a former broadcaster at Fox News, sued the parent company of Fox News Channel for the sexual harassment perpetrated by ex-CEO Roger Ailes. Carlson obtained a $20 million settlement and a formal apology. Roger Ailes, however, left the company in July 2016 with a $40 million settlement.
– New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden: Browne Sanders, a former executive for the NBA’s New York Knicks, was fired after complaining that she’d been sexually harassed by Isiah Thomas. At the time, Mr. Thomas was the team’s president of basketball operations and head coach. According to the complaint, Mr. Thomas called Ms. Sanders a “bitch” and “ho,” and solicited sex from her. The defendants agreed to settle for $11.5 million.
– Harvey Weinstein: Multiple survivors of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct obtained an $18.875 million settlement earlier this year. The settlement payments will resolve two separate lawsuits: one against Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein, and The Weinstein Company (filed in February of 2018), and one class action lawsuit filed on behalf of a group of women who were sexually harassed and assaulted by Harvey Weinstein (filed in November 2017). Weinstein is currently awaiting trial in California on multiple charges including rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual battery by restraint, and sexual penetration by use of force.
At Dordulian Law Group, we understand that it takes a great deal of courage for survivors of sexual abuse, assault, and harassment to come forward with their stories. This can be particularly true for sexual misconduct that occurred decades ago; time does not always heal trauma.
DLG’s experienced attorneys appreciate the challenges that come with sexual misconduct cases. The subject matter can be highly sensitive, and survivors need the utmost support. We ensure each case is handled with privacy, discretion, and confidentiality. We understand that discussing the details of traumatic events can be extremely difficult and potentially triggering. Talking to a lawyer may seem scary at first, but at DLG we do our utmost to make clients feel comfortable and secure. In fact, our entire process is designed with our survivor clients in mind, taking into consideration the hardships they have endured.
DLG clients benefit from four tiers of advocacy and support established through our Sexual Assault Justice Experts (SAJE) Team.
DLG attorneys have recovered over $100 million for clients. This compensation has provided survivors with better futures, and enabled many to begin the process of healing. However, DLG is not just about compensation. Rather, DLG attorneys take it upon themselves to consistently advocate for survivors’ rights, making strong statements to organizations, agencies, and corporations by holding them accountable for their actions or the actions of their employees. Case-by-case, DLG is helping create better policies, procedures, and experiences for future generations who will hopefully endure less sexual abuse, assault, or harassment. Please take a look at our case results and client testimonials to learn more about our clients’ experiences.
DLG handles all cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we are only paid after a verdict or settlement is reached. Our clients never have to pay any fees upfront, and DLG attorneys are only paid if we obtain money for our clients. Such a contingency fee arrangement allows survivors to hire an experienced and dedicated DLG attorney with no risk and no financial burden out of pocket.
If you or a loved one has survived sexual assault, abuse, harassment, or any other type of sexual misconduct, DLG can help. The SAJE Team at DLG knows that it takes great courage to come forward with an allegation of sexual misconduct, let alone file a lawsuit. Accordingly, we are always here to assist and support.
Ultimately, what is most important is that survivors come forward when they are ready, on their own terms. As sexual assault attorneys, we are prepared to help survivors, whenever that day may eventually come. As a survivor, once you call DLG, you will never again be alone throughout the legal process and beyond. When we take on a sexual abuse case for a survivor client, we view that individual as a member of our extended family, and our support and continued availability continues forever, even after you’ve won your case.
We are available anytime to talk with you about your sexual abuse, assault, or harassment claim. To speak with one of our attorneys about your situation, call us at 855-804-9636 for a free consultation, or fill out our case evaluation form.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.