The New York Times recently reported that U.S.A. Gymnastics, thenational governing body for gymnastics in the United States, has offered the hundreds of victims who were sexually abused by the former national team doctor Larry Nassar a $215 million settlement. The lump sum was offered in an attempt to settle all the legal claims that were filed against the organization. According to the source, more than 300 plaintiffs, some of which are Olympic gymnasts, filed suit against U.S.A. Gymnastics “for failing to protect them from Mr. Nassar.”
Nassar was recently sentenced in 2018 and is looking at spending 40 to 125 years in prison for “abusing girls at a gymnastics facility under the guise of medical treatment.” During this same year, U.S.A. Gymnastics filed for bankruptcy.
As a part of a reorganization plan that was filed in federal bankruptcy court, the organization included a $215 settlement to go to all of Nassar’s victims. The plan also offered the woman an alternative to accepting the money—they could “continue to pursue their lawsuits and collect judgements from U.S.A. Gymnastics’ insurance policies.” The news source highlighted that whichever option the victims choose, it shall apply to the entire group.
Aside from the $215 million that was offered, the plaintiffs would also receive an additional $2.125 million that would be paid by the insurers for Twistars Gymnastics Club which is one of the locations where Nassar abused girls. The plan also included “benchmarks to ensure that U.S.A. Gymnastics improves athlete safety and provided for payments to the organization’s other creditors.” Essentially, the plan would allow the organization to get out of bankruptcy if the plaintiffs agreed to accept the deal.
Attorney criticizes the offer claiming it’s “not just unworkable, it is unconscionable.”
U.S.A. Gymnastics has received a significant amount of criticism for the manner in which it handled the scandal as an investigation discovered that it along with the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee “knowingly concealed Mr. Nassar’s abuse.” Now, the organization is being criticized for the unacceptable settlement it has offered the plaintiffs. The fact is, if the women were to accept the offer, they would likely only receive between $250,000 to $300,000 each as there are hundreds of lawsuits that were filed.
Although no decision has been made just yet, one of the girls’ attorneys issued a statement saying, “I’m not in a position to reject it, but in speaking to my clients and other lawyers, there’s a better chance of Donald Trump endorsing Bernie Sanders than the victims accepting this offer.” The same attorney has also said that“the plan did not fundamentally change the culture at U.S.A. Gymnastics or the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.” He went on to say that the payment is similar to an amount that would be provided in a car crash settlement, “not a case involving the hundreds of sexual assaults that Mr. Nassar had been accused of abusing.
How can a victim of sexual harassment/abuse recover compensation for their pain and suffering?
Just as Nassar’s victims did, you could file a lawsuit against the individual or entity they work for. Given you have a strong case and sufficient evidence, the other party could offer a settlement, or your case could go to trial where a judge would make the final ruling on it. However, you are going to need to speak with a sexual harassment lawyer in your city who can assess the details surrounding the incident to decide whether filing a lawsuit is the best option for you.
To get connected with a sexual harassment attorney in your area now who is eager to help you, contact USAttorneys.com.