Johns Hopkins Settlement: $190M for Gynecologist's Secret Recordings

By Brett Snider, Esq. on July 22, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Johns Hopkins Hospital has proposed a $190 million payout to settle a class-action lawsuit over a gynecologist's secret recordings of patients.

The late Dr. Nikita A. Levy is alleged to have "surreptitiously recorded patients over the course of several years," reports The Baltimore Sun. Although Levy committed suicide in February 2013 amid an investigation into his alleged recordings, Hopkins had identified more than 12,500 potential victims.

What would this proposed settlement cover for Levy's victims?

Preliminary Settlement Approved

According to The Associated Press, the $190 million class-action preliminary settlement has been approved by the court. However, now the settlement will be passed on to potential plaintiffs, which may affect its final approval by a judge.

Potentially thousands of women will be categorized based on their trauma level from the alleged gynecologist-recording incidents. The intensity of their trauma will determine "how much money each one will receive," reports the AP. This is similar to how the NFL's various proposed settlements have dealt with its massive class of plaintiffs, by placing them along a spectrum of injury and damages.

This may sound like a difficult task, but Johns Hopkins has enlisted both a forensic psychologist and a post-traumatic stress specialist to help the hospital sort it out.

Details of Settlement Unclear

Hopkins stated its insurance will cover the multimillion-dollar settlement, which will "properly balance[] the concerns of thousands of plaintiffs" with the hospital's own interests, reports the AP. But little has been said in terms of dollar amounts.

With the estimated number of victims hovering around 10,000, potential members of the class-action settlement may receive about $19,200 on average -- with more traumatized victims receiving more.

The details of any class-action settlement agreement are important, as courts are typically unwilling to let parties change their minds once a deal is struck. BP learned this lesson the hard way; for years, it's been fighting a settlement in which businesses may recover without having to prove damages from BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster.

With investigations pointing to Levy as a sole actor in this privacy-rending practice, Hopkins hopes this settlement will give victims some sense of closure.

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