UC Board of Regents, plaintiffs reach $243.6 million settlement with James Heaps
A new settlement over allegations of sexual assault by former UCLA Health OB-GYN James Heaps was reached Tuesday. (Courtesy of Al Seib/LA Times)
By Justin Jung
Feb. 8, 2022 10:33 a.m.
This post was updated Feb. 9 at 11:01 p.m.
The University of California Board of Regents and 203 plaintiffs in sexual assault and misconduct lawsuits against former UCLA OB-GYN James Heaps have reached a $243.6 million settlement.
The settlement announced Tuesday does not contain confidentiality or nondisclosure clauses, according to a press release from Manly, Stewart & Finaldi and The Garza Firm, which represent more than 150 of Heaps’ accusers.
Heaps was previously a faculty member at the David Geffen School of Medicine and an OB-GYN at UCLA Health. He was indicted in May on 21 counts of felony sexual assault, and two of his motions to overturn that indictment were denied in state court.
The new settlement followed a $73 million class action settlement approved in early 2021, paying out between $2,500 and $250,000 to thousands of Heaps’ former patients.
The class action lawsuit automatically applied to any of Heaps’ former patients, who were required to opt out of the settlement by May 6 if they did not wish to be a part of it. Class members in the suit are barred from filing individual civil suits against Heaps for past sexual assault.
UCLA Health said in an emailed statement Tuesday that it hopes the settlement will help plaintiffs receive healing and closure and that it has taken steps to prevent future sexual misconduct by clinicians.
“The conduct alleged to have been committed by Heaps is reprehensible and contrary to the University’s values,” the statement read. “Our first and highest obligation will always be to the communities we serve, and we hope this settlement is one step toward providing healing and closure for the plaintiffs involved. We admire the courage of the plaintiffs in coming forward and appreciate plaintiffs’ counsel’s commitment to resolving the claims.”