On November 4, the midwife of the late Dr. Paul Griffiths filed a lawsuit against her former employer, the University of Southern California.
Griffiths died of a brain hemorrhage in March 2015.
The suit accuses the university of negligently concealing a pattern of malpractice claims that have resulted in a $1.9 million settlement with Griffiths’ family and the University.
Griffith’s son and grandson were also named in the suit.
Griffith and her attorney have denied any wrongdoing.
According to the Southern California News Group, the university has paid $1,600,000 to Griffiths family, as well as a $200,000 settlement to Griffith’s estate.
The lawsuit, which was filed by the Griffiths Estate, seeks an immediate halt to the university’s wrongful conduct.
“Dr. Griffith has been a pillar of Southern Californias medical community and we are pleased that she will receive a full and fair settlement to ensure that she has all of the funds she needs to be able to continue her career,” said Lidia Tarrant, Griffiths attorney.
The Southern California Times reported that the university had been paying Griffiths for her medical services for at least 10 years.
Griffith died in March of a severe brain hemorrhaging that had been brought on by complications from her cancer treatments.
The complaint against the university cites a letter from Griffiths in which she acknowledged that she had been the subject of multiple malpractice lawsuits.
According the Southern Californian, Griffith’s family has not responded to the lawsuit, but they did speak out in defense of the university.
The Griffiths estate is seeking the “full and fair” payment of the $1 million, which it estimates to be about $1 per hour of work.
“We have been working for 10 years to get this settlement, which will allow us to move forward with Dr. Griffith on her future,” Tarrants attorney, Michael McArthur, told the Times.
“There is no question that this is a huge victory for her and her family, and she is proud to have achieved this.”
Griffiths was a pioneer of female midwives in the United States, and in her lifetime she established an industry and a community in Southern California, helping to improve maternal health and reproductive health.
Griffith said in a statement that she is “sad to see that the institution of the University is continuing to cover its medical bills and is not willing to cover the medical expenses of the family.”
The Southern Californians lawsuit alleges that Griffiths had suffered “multiple medical malpractice” claims, which she settled out of court for a sum of $1 in 2014.
“It is important to note that Dr. Grimes was not the only one who suffered medical malmaters during her lifetime, and it is also important to point out that Drs.
Lutz, Roberts, and Griffiths were not alone,” the statement read.
“The University of South California is an industry leader in women’s health care, and its leadership of a midwife was a significant milestone in advancing women’s rights.”
The University of California at Los Angeles has agreed to pay $1 billion to Griffith family and has agreed that it will “fully cooperate” with the investigation.
The university has agreed not to seek any further litigation against Griffiths, and the Southern Center for Family Life, which has been handling the case, is also no longer involved in the case.
The settlement was reached after a three-year investigation by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.
The civil rights investigation, which includes interviews with several of Griffiths personal physician, and health care providers, found that Griffith had “failed to take reasonable steps to avoid or minimize medical malpractices” during her tenure as a medical midwife at the university, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Griffith retired in 2014 after nearly 40 years with the university as an assistant professor of medicine and was appointed to the position of vice chancellor of health services.
In addition to her position at the hospital, Griffith also was an assistant dean for research and a director of the department of pediatrics at the medical school.
Griffith is survived by her husband of nearly 30 years, who died in 2017.