UC Berkeley School of Law campus. (Photo: S. Todd Rogers) UC Berkeley School of Law campus. (Photo: S. Todd Rogers)

 

SAN FRANCISCO – UC-Berkeley has agreed to pay $1.7 million to the woman who accused its former law school dean of sexual harassment.

According a copy of UC-Berkeley’s agreement with Tyann Sorrell, who was executive assistant to Sujit Choudhry when he was dean of the law school, the settlement is to be paid out through an initial lump sum payment of $600,000 to Sorrell and her attorney, Leslie Levy of Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams.

Sorrell will receive another $250,000 up front, and receive the rest in monthly payments of $8,048 stretching over 10 years—starting June 1, 2018 and terminating in May 1, 2028. The settlement agreement, which resolves claims alleging the university retaliated against Sorrell and failed to intervene when she reported the alleged harassment, was obtained from UC-Berkeley through a public records request.

“In order to avoid the substantial expense and inconvenience of further litigation, the parties now desire to fully and finally settle all claims on the terms set forth in this agreement,” the agreement states.

The agreement also forgives $12,041.34 in student housing debt owed by Sorrell and her husband, and appoints Sorrell to the “Faculty-Staff Climate Committee” during Melissa Murray’s tenure as interim dean of Berkeley Law.

Sorrell sued Choudhry and UC-Berkeley’s Board of Regents in March 2016, alleging that Choudhry had hugged, kissed and touched her in unwanted ways, and that the university denied her requests to be transferred to another position after she complained. Choudhry subsequently stepped down as dean.

The release of the settlement agreement between UC-Berkeley and Sorrell comes after university announced late Friday that it had reached a deal terminating an ongoing disciplinary investigation against Choudhry over the harassment allegations. That settlement leaves Choudhry as a tenured professor in good standing until spring 2018.

Choudhry also paid $50,000 to Sorrell’s lawyer and another $50,000 to charities of her choosing as part of a settlement resolving claims against him in court. Sorrell, in a statement over the weekend, blasted the deal between the university and Choudhry as overly generous, saying it “insults all who suffer harassment at the hands of those with power and privilege.”

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