New suits filed against former doctors, USC

Attorney Andy Rubenstein led a press conference Monday after filing two new lawsuits against USC and two former campus doctors. (Sasha Urban/Daily Trojan)

Two new lawsuits were filed against USC Monday, adding to a growing stack of litigation against two former campus doctors and the University for sexual abuse, negligence and gender violence, among other charges.

About 15 victims of former campus gynecologist George Tyndall and former campus men’s sexual health doctor Dennis Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse spoke about their experiences with the doctors at a press conference Monday held by D. Miller and Associates, one of the firms that filed the lawsuits.

Over 650 women are currently involved in lawsuits against the University and Tyndall. In February, USC agreed to a class action settlement that would distribute $215 million to nearly 17,000 of Tyndall’s former patients, but the United States District Court of California delayed a preliminary approval of the settlement, citing unclear distribution procedures. Thirty-three women were named in Monday’s lawsuit against Tyndall and USC.

At least 30 men — all of whom identify as gay or bisexual — are also suing the University and Kelly over similar complaints, as well as alleged violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act, which outlaws discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation at all California businesses. Eleven of those men were named in Monday’s lawsuit.

Ten of the men and women present Monday spoke about their experiences with Tyndall and Kelly.

Amanda Davis, a victim of Tyndall’s abuse who spoke at the conference, said she thinks USC wants victims to accept the class action settlement so it can squander the scandal quickly without having to change its policies.

She said the University needs to make change by creating a reporting system hosted by an unbiased party to track complaints and lead investigations into claims. Davis also said Tyndall and Kelly need to face legal repercussions for their actions.

“USC needs to be held accountable,” she said. “They need to provide answers for who knew what, when, where. They need to give a voice and closure to victims as they have promised.”

Davis also advocated for AB 1510, a bill that would allow lawyers a one-year period to revive cases — specifically those involving university health centers — that were previously ineligible due to the state statute of limitations. USC has hired a lobbying firm to advocate against the bill, which would allow more victims of Tyndall and Kelly to seek claims.

In a statement to the Daily Trojan, USC said it is aware of the most recent lawsuit against Tyndall.

“The university is aware of the lawsuit,” the statement read. “We will seek a prompt and fair resolution that is respectful of our former students.”

Kelly was employed at the University for nearly 20 years before resigning in August 2018 to work as a men’s health specialist at Cal State Northridge. At the press conference Monday, Andy Rubenstein, one of the lawyers named in the two lawsuits, said  that he also represents two students and victims of Kelly’s who did not attend USC.

Seth Johnson attended USC from 2017 to 2018. He said Kelly forced him to undergo unnecessary and invasive examinations, along with answer inappropriate questions.

“It saddens me that USC allowed this abuse to continue for years without any change, but I want to turn my sorrow into action,” Johnson said. “I want to encourage and inspire people to speak up and not be afraid to defend themselves from these predatory situations. It’s time for USC and Dr. Kelly to be held accountable.”

Rubenstein said at the press conference that he expects the University to offer a similar settlement to Kelly’s victims as in the Tyndall case. The University has not released an official statement about the lawsuits since the first was filed against Kelly in February.

“You go to a doctor … you’re placing your trust in this person,” Rubenstein said. “Everyone [feels] passionate about their school. This is like an intervention for some family member we love but who has gone off the rails.”