Abuse victims see inequity in payouts at 2 Michigan schools

Two former University of Michigan football stars who stand to receive as much as $500,000 each through the school’s sexual abuse settlement with more than 1,000 students say the per-victim payouts should be much higher, pointing to a similar case at rival Michigan State.

Dwight Hicks and Jon Vaughn, both former NFL players, told The Associated Press that the $490 million settlement the Ann Arbor school announced this week is another example of Black victims receiving less than white victims in big-money payouts. The majority of the claimants in the settlement are Black men, said John Manly, an attorney involved in the case.

Although the victims of the school’s former sports doctor Robert Anderson are expected to receive between $400,000 and $500,000, the victims of Larry Nassar – who sexually assaulted gymnasts at Michigan State University – averaged $1.2 million in payouts.

“The differences: One, they were women. Two, they were white,” said Hicks, 65, who attended Michigan from 1974-78 and spent eight seasons in the NFL with Indianapolis and San Francisco.

He said the fact that there was a smaller pool of victims, about 300, in Michigan State’s $500 million settlement in 2018, “I don’t feel we should get less. This is the damage that was done to us and perpetrated on us as Black men.”

“At the end of the day, none of this is fair,” Vaughn told The Associated Press on Friday.

A 2018 report says insurance companies and courts rely on testimony of economic experts’ calculation of damages using wage tables, and that data often is based on the race, ethnicity and gender of the person filing the lawsuit, according to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Blacks, Latinos and Hispanics and women of all races typically earn less than white men, meaning damages awarded often are less than…

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