Johns Hopkins Hospital agreed to pay former patients of Dr. Nikita Levy, and their lawyers, $190 million to settle allegations of sexual misconduct by the gynecologist.
Levy committed suicide in February of 2013, just a few days after Hopkins fired him amid an investigation of his surreptitious video and photography in his office. Police searched Levy's home computers and found thousands of video snippets of women undressed, apparently taken by Levy with hidden cameras, including four that were embedded in pens and two in key fobs he carried.
More than 12,000 women had been seen by Levy during his more than 25 years at Hopkins. Between 7,000 and 8,000 are considered part of the class that can receive compensation in the lawsuit, says Jonathan Schochor, Managing Partner of Schochor, Federico and Staton, acting as Chairman of the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee that has directed the action in court.
Besides the videos, Levy is also alleged to have had inappropriate physical contact with some patients, Schochor says. Some complained to Hopkins hospital administration about Levy's conduct, he says, "and got no response."
Hopkins had a duty to supervise Levy and a policy that a person other than the doctor and patient should "chaperone" gynecological exams, Schochor says, which Levy "obviated, circumvented, routinely."
The hospital is insured for the settlement, Schochor says.
Now the plaintiffs will determine how much money each of the women will receive, according to a four-tier damage matrix that will be designed in the coming months. Those showing the most severe damages will receive the most money; those with the least will get the least. The plaintiffs have hired a forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Annie G. Steinberg, to examine the women and decide which category each fits.
In September a judge will hold a "fairness hearing" to decide if the matrix and the allocations make sense, Schochor says. If there are no objections, then the money can be disbursed.