UCLA Heaps Sexual Misconduct Class Action
Girard Sharp and Gibbs Law Group have jointly filed a class action complaint against UCLA on behalf of women who were treated by UCLA gynecologist Dr. James Heaps. Heaps has been charged with sexual battery and exploitation of patients while working as a staff gynecologist at UCLA—a position he held for almost thirty years.
On June 10, 2019, charges against Heaps for sexual battery of two patients in 2017 and 2018 became public after he surrendered to law enforcement. Dr. Heaps pleaded not guilty.
UCLA reportedly kept Heaps on staff despite receiving several complaints about his behavior, after multiple investigations, and even after the Medical Board of California opened its own investigation into Heaps’s conduct in 2014. In addition to investigating allegations of Heaps’s misbehavior as early as 2014, UCLA reportedly admitted that it received further complaints about Heaps in 2015 and 2017.
UCLA’s reported decision to keep the results of its 2014 investigation secret may have violated its sexual misconduct policy. The university did not publicly acknowledge abuse allegations against Heaps until June 2019, when he was arrested and charged with sexual misconduct. While UCLA’s policy permitted it to remove Heaps from campus once it is alleged to have begun investigating his conduct, in 2014, the university did not do so, instead allowing him to continue seeing students even after investigations allegedly found multiple serious allegations against Heaps. In April 2018, UCLA placed him on leave and reportedly allowed him to quietly retire.
More than 50 women are already reported to have come forward to report being inappropriately treated by Heaps, and the university has reportedly paid over $3 million in individual settlements regarding allegations against Heaps. UCLA issued a public apology, stating, “We are deeply sorry for this . . . we know we could have done better” and “we need to hear from other possible patients.”
If you were a patient of Dr. James Heaps and believe you may have been the victim of sexual misconduct, you may have a claim for relief. We have substantial experience in class action and other complex litigation on behalf of sexual abuse survivors. Our lawyers currently serve as members of the leadership team in the USC litigation arising out of allegations that Dr. George Tyndall—a gynecologist at USC—sexually abused his patients. USC agreed to resolve the Tyndall case for $215 million. Contact a Girard Sharp public protection attorney by calling 415-981-4800 or by filling out the form below: