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Jonathan Rosenfeld

June 9, 2023

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Sexual Abuse Claims Against Dr. Hadden of Columbia University

In January 2023, a New York gynecologist, Dr. Robert Hadden was convicted of four counts of enticing and inducing individuals to travel interstate to engage in illegal sexual activity.

These charges were just the tip of the iceberg. Countless women have come forward to describe how they were victimized by Hadden.

Survivors are filing lawsuits against the Columbia University Medical Center, where Hadden worked.

The hospital has already paid almost a quarter of a billion dollars in total to Hadden’s victims, and there may be more victims out there.

If you have been assaulted by Dr. Hadden, you still have time to file a lawsuit against his employer, thanks to a recent New York law.

Hadden Committed Sex Abuse for Decades Under the Eye of Columbia University

The United States Attorney who prosecuted Hadden in the federal case referred to the doctor as a “predator in a white coat.” For years, Hadden lured women to his office under the pretense of receiving medical treatment, where he would then sexually assault them.

His case came into the public eye because the wife of then-presidential candidate Andrew Yang detailed her abuse at the doctor’s hands when her husband was campaigning. Then, countless women came forward with their own stories. 

Officials at Columbia University knew of Hadden’s conduct for decades, yet they did nothing to stop him or turn him in to the authorities.

The inaction allowed Hadden to prey on what may have been thousands of women. Columbia would be responsible for Hadden’s conduct, solely on the grounds that he was their employee.

The university’s own negligence and culpability for their failure to supervise makes their liability even worse. 

In 2016, Hadden pled guilty to two state law charges of criminal sex act in the third degree and forcible touching. However, Hadden received an extremely light sentence, with no jail time and no listing on the state sex offender registry.

In light of this miscarriage of justice and the renewed public scrutiny of his actions, the federal government filed additional criminal charges against Hadden. He was convicted of these charges and faced 20 years in prison for each of the counts. 

New York Law Allows You to File a Lawsuit for a Limited Time

In the past, victims may not have been able to sue for compensation because the statute of limitations would have expired. Since Hadden practiced at the hospital for three decades, many of these assaults occurred many years ago.

However, New York recently passed the New York State Adult Survivors Act. This law allows a one-year window for sexual abuse victims to file claims that would have otherwise been barred by the statute of limitations. The window began on November 23, 2022, so there is still time to file a lawsuit.

Already, Columbia University Medical Center has entered into two large settlement agreements with groups of victims. In October 2022, the hospital settled 147 claims for a total of $165 million.

The year before, the hospital reached a $71.5 million settlement with 79 victims. There are estimates that Hadden treated as many as 6,000 patients over his career at the hospital.

In other words, there may be many more potential victims who have not yet filed claims.  The hospital’s liability could skyrocket further by the time all victims come forward. The initial settlements may be just the first of many cases that will result in compensation for victims. 

In our experience, many sexual assault victims will wait to file a lawsuit until right before the deadline. However, you should be in contact with a sexual abuse lawyer by this time, so they can begin to learn the facts and draft your complaint.

Columbia University is a deep-pocketed institution that has more than enough money to pay all the claims that relate to Hadden’s behavior. 

Dr. Hadden’s Case Is the Latest Large Physician Sex Abuse Settlement

Dr. Hadden’s case is one of the largest physician sexual assault cases in American history. In the last decade, there have been numerous cases of widespread sexual abuse by individual doctors that have led to large-scale settlements for victims, including:

  • A $123 million settlement was paid by a Delaware hospital in 2012 for rampant abuse by a pediatrician, Dr. Earl Bradley, who treated as many as 7,000 patients. When Bradley was tried, prosecutors alleged that he assaulted or raped as many as 85 children, and these were just the known victims. There are estimates that he abused up to 1,200 children, even recording some of the abuse on video. Dr. Bradley was able to continue his abuse for 15 years, despite numerous investigations into his conduct. 
  • There were two nine-figure settlements related to the horrific abuse saga involving Dr. Larry Nasser. He was a physician, both for USA Gymnastics and at Michigan State University. USA Gymnastics agreed to a settlement for $425 million, while Michigan State University paid $500 million to 332 victims. Nasser abused hundreds of women over the course of his three-decade career. The Nasser saga prompted Michigan to reform its statute of limitations to allow sexual abuse victims to file lawsuits before they turn 28 years old. 
  • The late Dr. Robert Anderson abused almost 1,000 students over his 37-year career at the University of Michigan, some of them multiple times. His case is believed to be the largest publicized pattern or sexual abuse by one person in United States history. In 2021, the university settled lawsuits relating to Dr. Anderson’s conduct for $490 million. The university first received credible reports of Anderson’s misconduct in the late 1970s and simply moved him to another department. 

While it is difficult to come forward with sex abuse allegations, it is something that you must do to receive financial compensation.

Your attorney will handle your case with the maximum amount of sensitivity and delicacy, knowing that you are reliving a traumatic episode in your life that will never go away. Contact us today to file your case against Columbia University before the window closes under New York law. 

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