Welcome to the UCLA Heaps Settlement Website
Important Update: The Settlement received final approval from the Court and is now effective. The Tier 1, 2, and 3 Settlement award distributions have occurred. Due to the status of the Settlement Administration, the time has passed to file late claims.
- A Settlement has been reached with Regents of the University of California ("Regents") and Dr. James M. Heaps, M.D. ("Dr. Heaps") in a class action lawsuit. Plaintiffs allege in the lawsuit that Dr. Heaps assaulted, abused, and engaged in harassing and offensive behavior towards female patients while he was an obstetrician and gynecologist at UCLA medical facilities and that Regents failed to respond appropriately. Defendants deny all charges of wrongdoing and liability. The Court has not decided who is right.
- The Settlement provides a $73 million Settlement Fund for Class Members.
- Settlement Class Members are eligible for a $2,500 Tier 1 payment if confirmed as Class Members.
- Settlement Class Members can further seek a Tier 2 Claim Award for a total of $12,500 (subject to pro rata adjustment) or a Tier 3 Claim Award for a total ranging from $12,500 to $250,000 (subject to pro rata adjustment).
- Statement of Class Membership and Tier 2 and 3 Claim Forms must have been received online or postmarked by mail no later than June 7, 2021.
- As part of the Settlement, Regents will ensure improved operating and oversight procedures for identification, prevention, and reporting of sexual misconduct in the clinical setting, including: implementing a new investigation model for sexual harassment/sexual assault in the patient care context; improved chaperone policies; notice to patients of reporting options; training for UCLA medical facilities personnel on provider-patient boundaries and on conducting sensitive examinations; enhanced due diligence during the credentialing and re-credentialing process and in connection with UCLA Health’s acquisition of a physician or group practice; and appointment of a compliance monitor to facilitate, oversee, and evaluate implementation of these institutional changes. Click here for a complete description of the changes Regents is implementing.
Who is a Class Member?
- You are a Class Member if you are a female patient who was seen for treatment by Dr. Heaps:
(1) at UCLA Medical Center (currently known as Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center) from January 1, 1986 to June 28, 2018, or
(2) at UCLA’s student health center (currently known as Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center) from January 1, 1983 to June 30, 2010, or
(3) at Dr. Heaps’s medical offices at 100 UCLA Medical Plaza from February 1, 2014 to June 28, 2018.
Class Member Award Tiers
How much Class Members receive from the Settlement depends on whether you filed a claim and, if you did, what type of claim you filed. Settlement Class Member claim options are as follows:
Tier 1 – Every Settlement Class Member is eligible for a Tier 1 Award payment of $2,500.
Settlement Class Members will receive a $2,500 payment in addition to being eligible for a Tier 2 or Tier 3 Claim Award payment. Those who are pre-identified through UCLA's records will be automatically mailed a Tier 1 payment check for $2,500 once the Settlement is effective. Those Class Members who could not be identified through UCLA's records must have submitted an online or written and signed Statement of Class Membership no later than June 7, 2021 to receive their $2,500 payment if confirmed as Class Members.
Tier 2 – Settlement Class Members also had the option to submit an online or written Tier 2 Claim Form describing their experience with Dr. Heaps, the impact, and/or the emotional distress and/or bodily injury suffered.
Each Tier 2 Claim will be reviewed by an impartial three-person panel that includes a court-appointed Special Master, a forensic psychologist/psychiatrist, and an OB/GYN.
If you submitted a Tier 2 Claim, the panel may ask you additional questions, to be answered in writing. If that happens, you may decline to answer, although doing so could affect your eligibility for a Tier 2 Award.
If the panel determines that the Tier 2 Claim is credible, and that the conduct by Dr. Heaps fell outside the scope of accepted medical standards of care applicable during the relevant time, or is otherwise actionable, you will be awarded an additional payment of $10,000 (for a total Tier 2 Award payment of $12,500), subject to pro rata adjustment up or down. If the panel determines you are not entitled to a Tier 2 Award, you will still receive the Tier 1 Award.
Tier 3 – Tier 3 claims are for Settlement Class Members who wished to provide further evidence of conduct or statement(s) by Dr. Heaps and their impact.
In addition to a Tier 3 Claim Form describing your experience, the impact, and/or the emotional distress and/or bodily injury suffered, Tier 3 claimants may submit additional evidence of impact or damages, which may include, for example, evidence of medical expenses or previous formal or informal complaints. You will also be interviewed by a member of the Special Master’s team about your experience and its impact. The interviewer will then provide an assessment to the panel. The interviewer will be a neutral, trained specialist. The purpose of the interview is to collect information about your claim—the interview is not a cross-examination.
Based on all information provided, the panel will determine whether each Tier 3 Claim is credible and may award a total payment between $12,500 and $250,000, subject to pro rata adjustment. The panel will determine Tier 3 claim eligibility and awards by assessing whether the conduct described falls outside the scope of accepted medical standards of care applicable during the relevant time, or is otherwise actionable, and based on an assessment of the emotional distress and/or bodily injury to you.
In addition, $5 million of the Settlement Fund will be set aside to make a Supplemental Award in extraordinary cases when the panel determines that additional compensation is necessary to adequately compensate a claimant who is otherwise eligible to receive the maximum Tier 3 Award. Per the terms of the Settlement, the panel may decide on a Supplemental Award of any amount for an individual eligible to receive a maximum Tier 3 Award, as long as the total amount of all Supplemental Awards does not exceed $5 million.
If the panel determines you are not entitled to a Tier 3 Award, you will still receive the Tier 1 Award.
Tier 2 and 3 Claim Forms must have been received online or postmarked by mail no later than June 7, 2021.