Larry Nassar, USA Gymnastics, World Sport Chicago & International Federation of Gymnastics Sued for Sexual Assault of Gymnast during Chicago Competition in Civil Rights Suit
CHICAGO, IL — Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, the law office of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz, and attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel, representing 20-year old female Plaintiff Jane Doe today filed a civil rights lawsuit against criminally convicted, former USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar, the International Federation of Gymnastics, USA Gymnastics, and World Sport Chicago for the unlawful sexual assault of the young woman, as well as on charges of negligence and fraud.
The complaint, filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, is the first lawsuit in Illinois seeking to hold Nassar and the named sporting institutions accountable for years of continued sexual assault of hundreds of USA Gymnastics members without any institutional intervention, despite repeated complaints from the athletes about Nassar’s conduct. The suit states that the Plaintiff was a member of USA Gymnastics from 2004 to 2017 and a U.S. National Team member from 2013 to 2016. Upon the direction of the National Team coordinator and athletic trainer, the Plaintiff began receiving treatment from Defendant Nassar at the National Team camp she attended in the fall of 2013, the first of many separate treatments – over 40 that Jane Doe has communicated – during which she was sexually assaulted by Nassar, until she ceased treatment with Nassar in early 2015.
The complaint details a Chicago area competition in 2014, hosted by World Sport Chicago in the northwest suburb of Hoffman Estates, during which the Plaintiff was sexually assaulted by Nassar. The complaint alleges that World Sport Chicago, USA Gymnastics and the International Federation of Gymnastics agreed to provide for the supervision, care and physical safety of its athletes, including the Plaintiff, at their events.
“The earlier settlement on behalf of 333 victims of Larry Nassar with Michigan State University was a crucial step towards bringing institutional reform to end the threat of sexual assault in sports, schools and more broadly in our society – but we’re filing this suit because there is still far more to be done to ensure that victims of sexual assault are believed when they report violations, that institutions and individuals take these reports seriously and that they put in place measures to keep people, especially children, in their care safe,” said attorney Antonio Romanucci, principal and partner at Romanucci & Blandin, LLC. “It is imperative that we hold accountable every institution that enabled Nassar to continually abuse these young athletes for years. These institutions were responsible for the athletes’ safety and supervision, and they failed miserably.”
“Nothing will ever completely repair the damage inflicted on these young women, but it is our hope that this lawsuit will force USA Gymnastics and the other named institutions who bear responsibility to admit their part in the largest child sexual abuse scandal in the history of sports in this country. It is time for all responsible institutions to take the next step by compensating the survivors and making permanent and lasting reforms to change the culture of gymnastics,” said attorney Michelle Tuegel.
“USA Gymnastics and all others responsible for this abuse will face litigation in every jurisdiction where abuse was allowed to occur,” said victim’s attorney Mo Aziz.
The Plaintiff is seeking a judgment against the International Federation of Gymnastics, USA Gymnastics, World Sport Chicago and Larry Nassar, awarding compensatory damages and attorney’s fees.
About Romanucci & Blandin, LLC:
Romanucci & Blandin has been rated as a leading civil trial practice law firm in Chicago concentering in police misconduct, personal injury, medical malpractice, and bullying and hazing. The attorneys at the Chicago law firm represent individuals and their families in catastrophic personal injury matters, wrongful death and workers’ compensation cases. The cases that are referred to Romanucci & Blandin involve accidents or injuries which occurred due to negligence and carelessness on the part of individuals, governmental bodies and corporations of all sizes. Since its inception more than 16 years ago, Romanucci & Blandin has secured more than $500 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of their clients. For more information about Romanucci & Blandin, please visit www.rblaw.net or call (312) 458-1000.
About Mo Aziz:
Mo Aziz is a Partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz. Mo is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Mo served on the Plaintiff’s Executive Steering Committee in the West Fertilizer Plant Explosion litigation from 2014 to 2017. He was able to secure settlements on behalf of 95 clients and this case was the first time in history that Plaintiffs were successful in products liability claims against Ammonium Nitrate manufacturers. In 2016, Mo represented the family of an exploding Takata airbag victim against Honda and Takata and the case was confidentially settled within 4 months. Mo is currently involved in significant national litigation, including: Title IX litigation with Baylor University; Las Vegas Route 91 Mass Shooting litigation; Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics litigation as a result of Larry Nassar’s sexual assault of female athletes; Representing several dozen first responders against Arkema as a result of explosions that occurred during Hurricane Harvey; and Complex flood litigation arising from Hurricane Harvey against developers and engineering firms.
About Michelle Simpson Tuegel:
A former world-ranked athlete in slalom water skiing, Tuegel uses that same competitive drive and intensity to champion clients’ cases and ensure they are treated justly. Tuegel recently represented a number of former U.S. National Team gymnasts and college athletes who were sexually abused by the former Olympic Team doctor, Larry Nassar. The lawsuits were filed against the United States Olympic Committee, U.S.A. Gymnastics, and Michigan State. Tuegel's clients were part of a $500 million global settlement reached against Michigan State on behalf of survivors. She was also one of the first attorneys to file a lawsuit connected to the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas. Tuegel has appeared on a variety of shows and publications from CNN to USA Today. The National Trial Lawyers named Tuegel to its Top 40 Under 40 and the Top 100 Trial Lawyers from 2014-2018. Tuegel has been repeatedly selected to the Texas Super Lawyers Rising Star list and named to the Texas Super Lawyers Rising Star Up-and-Coming Top 100 and Up-and-Coming Top 50 women Attorneys.