Tyann Sorrell receives $1.7M from UC in landmark sexual harassment settlement

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Tyann Sorrell received $1.7 million from the University of California to settle her sexual harassment lawsuit — a landmark payment that could be one of the largest Title IX settlements in UC history.

The settlement, obtained by The Daily Californian through a California Public Records Act request, states that the UC Board of Regents will pay $600,000 to Sorrell’s attorney, Leslie Levy, and a lump sum of $250,000 to Sorrell. Sorrell will also receive $8,048 from the regents monthly over the next 10 years — for a total of $850,000, including fees.

Sorrell, who accused former UC Berkeley School of Law dean Sujit Choudhry of sexually harassing her while she worked as his executive assistant, settled her lawsuit with the UC Board of Regents last month. The suit had alleged that the regents failed to take proper steps to prevent sexual harassment. The UC settlement states that the regents deny and dispute Sorrell’s allegations.

“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 settlement states.

As per the settlement, the regents will also appoint Sorrell to sit on the Berkeley School of Law’s Faculty-Staff Climate Committee. Additionally, the regents will forgive the student housing debt of about $12,000 that Sorrell’s husband owes.

UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof declined to comment on whether the $1.7 million being paid to Sorrell was the largest cash settlement for a sexual harassment case in UC history.

“(We) dont have the wherewithal today to comb through data on the legal settlements the UC has been involved in over the course of time,” Mogulof said in an email.

The settlement includes a confidentiality provision that prevents the parties from voluntarily sharing the agreement unless they are legally compelled to do so through a California Public Records Act request or a subpoena, or if the the UC Board of Regents determines the disclosure is necessary to defend itself in a judicial or administrative proceeding.  

A UC spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment on the settlement.

The settlement comes several months after the university settled a UC Santa Cruz sexual assault case for $1.15 million, thought to be the largest awarded to an individual in a campus sexual assault case. In the suit, student Luz Portillo alleged that assistant professor Hector Perla had raped her, and he was later found by a Title IX investigation to have violated UC sexual misconduct policy.

The UC Board of Regents arrived at a separate settlement directly with Choudhry in order to avoid tenure proceedings against Choudhry, announced in a press release sent from the UC Office of the President on Friday. The settlement allows for the UC regents to terminate the disciplinary process and withdraw all pending charges against Choudhry.

Levy said she was unable to comment on the terms of Sorrell’s settlement with the regents but added that the settlement reached between the regents and Choudhry does not demonstrate a shift in how the university handles sexual harassment cases.

“To the extent that she believed that the university has changed its approach to dealing with sexual harassment, the release negotiated with Choudhry shows that not much has changed,” Levy said.  

Levy added that additional actions still must be taken in order to prevent sexual harassment on college campuses.

“This has been a long and a hard road,” Levy said. “She is eager to move forward and intends to continue to involve herself with this issue. Although there has been some progress on dealing with sexual harassment on campuses, there is still a ways to go, and she thanks everybody who’s working on it.”

Check back for updates.

Senior staff writer Pressly Pratt contributed to this report.

Contact Andrea Platten, Jessica Lynn and Cassandra Vogel at [email protected].

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Tyann Sorrell reached a settlement with Choudhry that allows for the UC Board of Regents to terminate the disciplinary process and withdraw all pending charges against Choudhry. In fact, the regents reached this settlement with Choudhry.

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  • Left Unsaid

    Victimhood is your ticket to riches and success. She has a new lucrative position, and tons of money to boot. It sure beats achievement when you can get something for nothing.

    • Lee Thompkins

      Fact check: I’m sure I read somewhere that she’s working back at her job and we see she’s paid nearly half out in legal fees. Don’t think that makes her rich. Still, she’s a secretary (not a lucrative position) that stood up to a monstrosity of a corrupt system that others at the top were too cowardly to confront. No victimhood in that.

  • the litigious title IX trolls win again

  • FreedomFan

    Title IX = another Democrat shake-down racket to enrich one-percenter lawyers and their greedy clients, while draining millions that otherwise could be used to educate young people.

  • Disqusted

    Congratulations to Tyann Sorrell and her attorneys. She deserves the money. If UC had not done such a terrible job responding to this and other situations they would have saved the university a lot of money. We can only hope that UC has learned some lessons and will take these matters seriously in the future.

    • Adam Smith

      This settlement is offensive. It is more than a student got who was allegedly raped. I do not look at Ms. Sorrell as an overall victim here. Her primary motivations appear to be money, and not to have to work for a living. But of course, there were unwelcome hugs, kisses on the cheek, and her shoulders were rubbed once! ( which she complained of after-the-fact) That’s worth $1.7 million and ruining your former boss’s reputation. If and when this money runs out, I am sure Ms. Sorrell will find something else to complain about. Otherwise she may have to go to work and actually do the work.

      • Lee Thompkins

        Take deep breaths Adam Smith…deep breaths. Legally, the cases are distinctly different. In the first case the perp was the main offender, but the university responded. In Sorrell’s case there was the perp AND the university’s inappropriate response, not only to Sorrell’s case but a string of others. Sorrell’s boss destroyed his own rep and the university, their own. Sorrell just held them accountable. Take deep breaths and get some perspective.

      • MikeD

        I absolutely agree. Usually a sum like that is awarded when the victim has irreparable career damage, or a loss of job and career. Not in this case. In addition, yes the advances are a severe violation, but let’s not lose our heads here. Shoulder rubs, kisses on the cheek? Almost 2 million in damages?

        • Lee Thompkins

          Baffling…why not first question the salaries continually paid to profs and deans who should know better but still violate people and policy?? Legal cases are complicated involving many nuances that later determine the amount of damages paid. People coming forward to condemn acts of wrongdoing are not the blame, and a system that continually allows the wrong doing should in fact be held accountable to the full extent of what law and policy allows. That’s what happened here. Let’s hope the university gets the memo.

    • Mr. Choudry barely got due process before getting lynched by a campus kangaroo court despite being a government employee protected by his constitutional rights. This is a shameful day for due process and a great one for leftist and politically correct shake down rackets!