USOPC suing insurers for holding up Nassar scandal settlement talks

USOPC chairman Susanne Lyons, accused insurers of holding up settlement negotiations with the hundreds of women who were abused by Larry Nassar.

Nassar was sentenced to up to 300 years in prison in two different trials in 2018 after hundreds of women accused him of sexual abuse.   -  AP

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) said on Friday it has filed a lawsuit against its insurance providers for failing to fulfill obligations in reaching a settlement with survivors of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

Committee Chair Susanne Lyons, speaking on a conference call, accused insurers of holding up settlement negotiations with the hundreds of women who were abused by disgraced former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Nassar.

“For nearly a year and a half we have actively participated in the mediation process,” said Lyons.

“Because the insurance companies, in our belief, have not lived up to their contractual obligations to the USOPC - including not acting fairly and in good faith and in exploring whether a reasonable settlement can be achieved - we were forced to file this lawsuit.”

The USOPC is suing 11 insurers, including units of Chubb Ltd and American International Group Inc. Those companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Nassar was sentenced to up to 300 years in prison in two different trials in 2018 after hundreds of women accused him of sexual abuse. He also worked as a faculty member at Michigan State University.

The university, which was accused of dismissing complaints about Nassar, agreed to pay $500 million in settlements to those who said they were sexually assaulted by Nassar.

USA Gymnastics offered a $215 million settlement in late February to Nassar survivors. The USOPC and USA Gymnastics have been participating in mediation with Nassar victims.

“The lawsuit seeks to have a court resolve the issues related to the insurer's obligations as part of our efforts to achieve a fair resolution for the victims and survivors,” said Lyons.

“We have a deep respect and empathy for the survivors and victims of abuse. They have shown tremendous bravery and strength in the most difficult of circumstances.

“We deeply regret the amount of time this complicated mediation has taken and we want nothing more than a swift and fair resolution to give some closure to the survivor community.”