BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Settlement announced. Johns Hopkins Hospital has agreed to pay millions to settle claims filed by patients of Dr. Nikita Levy. He’s the gynecologist accused of secretly recording his patients.
Mike Hellgren has more on how the lawyers revealed the settlement—and how they reached it.
$190 million is a lot of money but it also has to be divided between more than 8,000 patients. Legal fees and fees for experts also need to be taken out. When you average it out, these victims are getting only a few thousand dollars apiece—and many are still dealing with trauma.
Dr. Nikita Levy worked as a gynecologist for one of the world’s most respected medical systems: Johns Hopkins. But police say he had a dark side, secretly recording some 8,000 patients during exams at the east Baltimore medical center, sometimes using a pen camera he wore around his neck.
Lawyers representing those victims denounced the doctor’s actions as they announced a possible record $190 million settlement in the class action case.
“This class action involves sexual abuse. It also involves shocking invasions of privacy,” said Howard Janet, victims’ attorney.
The $190 million will be divided based on evaluations of each patient. Some are so scarred, they no longer visit doctors.
“And they have fallen out of the medical system. During our interviews, we learned that they quit,” said Jonathan Schochor, victims’ attorney.
Dr. Levy worked there for 25 years. In that time, he had more than 12,000 patients. He killed himself shortly after the investigation began.
Johns Hopkins called Dr. Levy a “rogue employee,” saying they had no knowledge of those recordings. The money will come from insurance.
“Hopkins, just became he was an employee, is not responsible for that kind of horrible conduct,” said Donald DeVries, a lawyer for Hopkins.
“He always smiled. Every time he was checking my privates, he smiled. When I went for my appointments, there would never be a nurse in there,” said a former patient. “Just him.”
The victims’ lawyers made another startling revelation: the doctor photographed 62 children. All of the images will be destroyed.
Despite a full investigation, including work by the FBI, lawyers for the victims say they just don’t know why he did this. It’s a secret that Dr. Levy took to the grave.
Hopkins released the following statement:
“Since last fall, Johns Hopkins Health System has been engaged in settlement discussions with attorneys representing people who may have been affected by the actions of Dr. Nikita Levy.
“We have come to an agreement that the plaintiffs’ attorneys and Johns Hopkins Health System believe is fair and properly balances the concerns of thousands of plaintiffs with obligations the Health System has to provide ongoing and superior care to the community. It is our hope that this settlement—and findings by law enforcement that images were not shared—helps those affected achieve a measure of closure.
“All funds will come from insurance. This settlement, which has been formalized by the plaintiffs’ attorneys and the Health System and given preliminary approval by the judge, will not in any way compromise the ability of the Health System to serve its patients, staff and community.
“We assure you that one individual does not define Johns Hopkins. Johns Hopkins is defined by the tens of thousands of employees who come to work determined to provide world-class care for our patients and their families.”
A judge has granted preliminary approval for the settlement. In the coming weeks, the victims’ lawyers say there will be an aggressive ad campaign to inform victims of their rights.
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