How will the University of Michigan Assault Rules work?

DETROIT (AP) — A $490 million settlement to settle sexual assault claims against a University of Michigan doctor will be treated the same as Michigan’s 2018 $500 million settlement State University and the victims of Larry Nassar.

The school will have no role in the distribution of the money. Instead, a retired judge, possibly two, will be presented with individual claims and determined a figure, the lawyers said.

Simple math pegs an average payout of more than $400,000 for each of the 1,050 people — mostly men — though some may be higher or lower, depending on the impact of Robert Anderson’s abuse.


“Not everyone will be the same,” attorney Jamie White said. “These men were not looking for money. Most of them are established graduates of the U. of M.. It was more about holding the university accountable.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Former UM students and athletes have said Anderson assaulted them during exams. He was a campus physician for 37 years, primarily in the athletic department, before retiring in 2003 and also gave physical exams to people in the aviation industry. He died in 2008.

The allegations about Anderson emerged in 2018 when a 1970s wrestler wrote a letter to the athletic director, who referred her to the police. A subsequent investigation revealed that complaints about Anderson had been made several times years before, but no one at the university had gotten rid of him.

THE SCHOOL’S RESPONSE

When lawsuits were filed in 2020, UM’s attorneys said the allegations were too old and violated Michigan’s deadline for filing personal injury cases. But outside of court, the university acknowledged that assaults had taken place and expressed its willingness to reach an agreement with the growing number of victims.

“We hope this settlement will start the healing process for survivors,” Jordan Acker, chairman of the school’s board of trustees, said Wednesday.

COMPARISONS WITH NASSAR

Nassar has assaulted female Michigan State athletes, US Olympic gymnasts, and young gymnasts who trained in the Lansing, Michigan area. He pleaded guilty in 2017 and is serving decades in prison. The state of Michigan has been accused of ignoring or dismissing complaints against him.

Michigan’s $500 million settlement was larger although it involved fewer victims, about 520, than in the Anderson scandal. Many were under 18 when Nassar assaulted them.

“There were dozens of women who presented impact statements in court,” attorney Megan Bonanni said. “It really became a story that got our whole country’s attention because of the criminal prosecution. That was taken into account as well.”

The settlement between UM and the Anderson victims still needs the blessing of U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts. Payments could start by summer, predicted John Manly, a lawyer for the men.

“It’s a fair result,” said Manly, who participated in the talks. “The reason this case was settled is not because of the largesse of the University of Michigan. This case was settled thanks to the stories of survivors and a judge who urged both parties to resolve it.

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Follow Ed White on http://twitter.com/edwritez

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Find full AP coverage of the University of Michigan sexual assault case at: https://apnews.com/hub/robert-anderson