BALTIMORE - A class action lawsuit has been certified by a Baltimore court following allegations that a Johns Hopkins gynecologist illegally and secretly recorded thousands of patients for years.
In a news conference at the Harbor Court Hotel in Baltimore, lead attorney Jonathan Schochor praised Johns Hopkins for making a good faith effort to resolve the case involving patients for Dr. Nikita Levy in a timely manner. He added that there are 3,800 victims known to date, but there could be as many as 9,000 potential plaintiffs included in the settlement class. Some of those victims, Schochor indicated, are minors.
Allegations against Levy became public in February after a colleague brought to light charges that he made photos and videos of his patients during treatment of his patients. Attorneys of the victims also allege Levy engaged in “sexual boundary violations" while treating patients. Attorney Howard Janet, whose firm is among eight firms involved in the lawsuit, says those violations included being inappropriately touched, exams conducted without a chaperone and having unnecessary exams.
Attorneys said they still don’t know if images were shared on the Internet, which is their greatest concern. Levy committed suicide not long after the allegations were made public.
Hopkins officials said they plan on working with the victims’ attorneys to resolve this case and agreed to the class action classification. Hopkins said the Circuit Court for Baltimore City will need to approve the terms of any settlement.
“Johns Hopkins sincerely hopes that the conditional class action settlement framework will facilitate a fair resolution of all claims,” said Hopkins in a statement. “The decision to engage in settlement discussions is not an admission of wrongdoing by Johns Hopkins.
“Because of the sensitive nature of the allegations, Johns Hopkins believes that attempting to resolve the claims without protracted litigation is in the best interests of those potentially affected by Dr. Levy’s conduct and will help to preserve the privacy of our patients.”
Attorneys for the Levy victims say the effort to work out a potential settlement could take months. If a settlement cannot be agreed upon, the group says the plaintiffs would start again "at square one." Schochor would not comment on what compensation they intend to seek for victims.
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