Attorneys representing hundreds of patients of former UCLA gynecologist Dr. James M. Heaps on Tuesday urged other former patients to opt out of a $73-million class-action settlement before a May 6 deadline.
The critics argue the settlement allows the university to keep secret too many of the sexual abuse allegations and does not hold the institution accountable. Those who back the settlement disagree, calling it fair and transparent.
A federal judge gave preliminary approval to the settlement by the University of California system in which it agreed to pay $73 million to more than 5,500 women who saw Heaps in his decades at UCLA. The university is accused of knowing about numerous prior sex abuse allegations against Heaps before his departure in 2019 and repeatedly allowing him to return to practice despite those reports. Heaps has denied any wrongdoing.
“This settlement allows UCLA to keep its dark secrets,” said John Manly, an attorney representing 135 clients who are among more than 300 accusers of Heaps who have already opted out of the settlement. Manly said the settlement only enriches lawyers and covers up the truth and ensures no UCLA administrators are held accountable.
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