In May 2020, Lieff Cabraser partner Annika K. Martin was appointed as Plaintiffs’ Interim Co-Class Counsel in the University of Michigan / Dr. Robert E. Anderson sexual abuse litigation pending before Judge Victoria A. Roberts in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Class Counsel noted, “We plan to seek recourse for all of Dr. Anderson’s victims — whether they choose to come forward or not – and ensure nothing like this can ever happen again at the University of Michigan. UM should not be able to use its secret claims program to avoid legal scrutiny and sweep its failures under the rug. We will ensure UM is held accountable through a transparent process overseen by the court that gives every survivor a voice and an opportunity to obtain justice.”
Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel have filed a class action sexual abuse lawsuit in federal court in the Eastern District of Michigan against the University of Michigan and its Regents for allowing and enabling a University physician, Dr. Robert E. Anderson, to sexually abuse students while employed by the University from 1968 until 2003. The lawsuit is brought on behalf of former student-patients who allege Anderson used his position to repeatedly and regularly sexually assault University students in the guise of providing medical care.
Prior to the filing, Lieff Cabraser investigated reports of sexual misconduct by University of Michigan doctor and athletics program physician Robert E. Anderson occurring over a 35-year period at UofM. The sexual abuse allegations against Anderson are said to be “disturbing and very serious,” according to a press release issued by the University, and include claims of unnecessary and intimate exams by a doctor with unrestricted access to male college athletes over a period of over three decades.
The allegations come in the wake of new legislation enacted in Michigan in 2018 that extends the statute of limitations for sexual abuse crimes past their previously narrow limits. Experts note that these kinds of physician-student sexual abuse cases hinge on the doctors’ power and access to the students, and that given the wide power imbalance and shaming relied on by the predatory abuser, it is not uncommon for victims to wait to report the 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.