June 1, 2018

More whitewashing

       After being sued by a flood of victims over sexual abuse that it allegedly concealed for decades, and after a police investigation -- the University of Southern California is starting damage control by using its long-time attorney O'Melveny to conduct an "independent investigation." Given O'Melveny's past in sexual abuse matters, I believe they will act as USC's advocate and do whatever they can do minimize USC's liability.

       And by the way, USC has a unique history of using legal tricks against victims. Not only does it force employees to sign a document that takes away their right to sue in court if they're sexual harassed or discriminated against -- it's trying to create new case law to eliminate employees' right to take ERISA claims to court. It's one of few universities to use such tactics, as universities usually have higher standards.

       [Addendum: Someone accused me of soliciting clients with this post. I'm not and I don't work in this area. But there are hundreds of other attorneys who help sexual abuse victims (and be sure USC won't use these victim advocates to "investigate.") I wrote this post after being up for four hours, pondering how one introduces vicious defense attorneys as "independent" investigators.]

       [Second Addendum: USC employees can still take their ERISA claims to court, because USC's attempt to eliminate that right was rejected by all California federal courts, as well as the United States Supreme Court.] 

       [Third addendum: O'Melveny boasted about the money they received from USC for the aforementioned investigation. In addition, the investigation has been criticized because it is not going as promised.]

       [Fourth addendum: In 2022, Rick Caruso ran for mayor of Los Angeles. Mr. Caruso was Chair of the USC Board of Trustees when the college hired O'Melveny to investigate the school's sexual abuse scandal. During that campaign, he was repeatedly grilled over his failure to keep his promise regarding O'Melveny's investigation. (Links onetwo, and three.) It may have contributed to his narrow loss in that race.]
Apalla Chopra, investigation, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, O'Melveny, USC, omm

Rick Caruso USC