Bridge Magazine has published a powerful opinion piece, written by California Western School of Law Professor Nancy Chi Cantalupo, examining the private claims resolution program the University of Michigan has established for survivors of the late Dr. Robert E. Anderson, a former UM physician accused of sexually assaulting hundreds of former students.
Cantalupo, who previously served on a task force responsible for making recommendations for reforms at the University of Southern California after it faced similar allegations, describes UM’s resolution process as a “secret claims program outside of the court system” offering a poor solution for the handling of misconduct. In contrast, she identifies USC’s process as being superior as it included a court-supervised class action settlement, reviewed and approved by a federal judge so as to provide transparency and a fair outcome to all survivors. USC was also involved in actively determining and making comprehensive institutional changes with the help of independent health experts and psychologists to prevent the same abuses from happening again.
Because UM’s program would be run strictly by the university with no external oversight by a court, Cantalupo worries this would give UM complete control over how much victims are paid, how much private information victims would have to share in order to receive any compensation, and over the amount of public disclosure of their own wrongdoing.
“With no accountability to a court,” she notes, “UM could discourage victims from coming forward to a university that they rightly do not trust to guard their privacy and protect them from further harm, under-compensate victims who do come forward, and block any transparency about its own complicity in the abuse victims experienced. Such a program would also allow U-M to avoid the institutional changes that are necessary to better prevent this type of systemic misconduct from occurring again.”
Cantalupo concludes that “enacting real change with proper external oversight will never be possible if Michigan is allowed to control the entire process and circumvent the courts…If UM truly wants to make things right for its students and alumni, it will work with those outside U-M to get needed expertise and show that it has nothing to hide”
If You Are A Victim of Sexual Abuse
Lieff Cabraser represents individuals nationwide in sexual abuse lawsuits against their physicians, teachers, clergy, and other abusers, including the USC sexual abuse litigation filed on behalf of nearly 18,000 women abused by University gynecologist George Tyndall, where Lieff Cabraser partner Annika K. Martin serves as co-lead class counsel whose efforts led to a historic settlement for victims of $215 million and sweeping institutional reforms at USC.
If you were sexually abused by Dr. Robert Anderson, we urge you to contact Annika or Lieff Cabraser attorney Patrick Andrews today about your legal rights and potential recovery at 800 541-7358 or by using the secure form on this page. There is no charge or obligation for our review of your case, and all information will be held in the strictest confidence.