State lawmaker urges UC regents to reject $73M settlement in gynecologist’s case, saying it’s unfair to victims

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Dr. James Heaps, a former UCLA Health gynecologist, appears at the Airport Courthouse in Del Aire on June 11, 2019. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Dr. James Heaps, a former UCLA Health gynecologist, appears at the Airport Courthouse in Del Aire on June 11, 2019. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A state lawmaker who wrote the law allowing accusers of a UCLA gynecologist more time to sue is advising University of California regents to reject a proposed $73-million class-action settlement, saying it will curtail many of the alleged victims’ rights.

The proposed settlement was reached last month by attorneys for the UC system and lawyers for seven women who said they were sexually battered by Dr. James Heaps while they were patients at UCLA.

Heaps, 67, has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges that he sexually abused seven patients. More than 200 women have accused him in the civil litigation of sexual assault and sexual misconduct from 1983 to 2019, during his tenure at the UCLA student health center and UCLA Medical Center.

State Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), in a letter to the UC Board of Regents on Dec. 15, said the settlement was “negotiated in secret without notice or input from the more than 200 women who have filed suit against UCLA.” Hicks said the deal was designed to undermine the intent of Assembly Bill 3092: The legislation, which takes effect Jan. 1, will give survivors until the end of 2021 to file lawsuits. Hicks noted that the number of alleged victims could number 6,600.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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