BY: Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller | IN: Medical Malpractice
In the last several weeks, our team of attorneys has spoken with dozens of proud University of Michigan alumni who were sexually assaulted by the late Dr. Robert Anderson. Some haven’t had any contact with the school since they left Ann Arbor, while others are still heavily involved with their alma mater.
Regardless of their degree of contact with the University in recent years, they all encounter a personal obstacle for coming forward – their love and respect for the University of Michigan.
On the one hand, survivors realize they were sexually abused by a University physician. At the same time, they don’t want to stain the reputations of the school or its athletic coaches, who sometimes became their fathers away from home.
We recognize and appreciate this apprehension. We share your concern. Seven of our attorneys are proud Wolverines, former Michigan athletes, and parents of current University of Michigan students or alums. Sommers Schwartz has supported the University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital for years, and a few of our people haven’t missed a home football game at the Big House in 20 years.
It is that love and respect for the University of Michigan – our University – that makes us believe the school will do the right thing for Dr. Anderson’s survivors. School officials are publicly encouraging the students, athletes, and patients Anderson treated to come forward, a drastically different position than Michigan State University took regarding the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.
For the Anderson survivors we represent, we won’t drag the University of Michigan’s reputation through the mud, berate the school in the media, or place blame on beloved coaches. We, like you, want transparency and an independent investigation into Dr. Anderson’s misconduct and how he was able for years to prey upon student-athletes and young adults unfettered and unrestricted. We, like you, want the University to do better and be better in the future.
It’s okay to want justice for the abuse you suffered, and we can help you get that justice. In fact, our consortium of attorneys is now working with the University to investigate and resolve survivors’ claims without having to file lawsuits.
Staying out of the courtroom is the best avenue for our clients and the school. It prevents revictimization of survivors brought on by open litigation and actually helps, not harms, the University’s reputation as the “leaders and best.” Above all, we can protect all of our clients’ identities if they want to remain anonymous throughout this process.
We know it is extremely difficult to step forward. But we fear that without a chorus of survivors’ voices, we won’t have the momentum to obtain a complete and open investigation or obtain full justice for the survivors. We need your voice, along with your fellow survivors, to encourage the University of Michigan to provide a full accounting of how Dr. Anderson was allowed to perpetrate his sexual assaults for more than 30 years, so this never happens again.
Sommers Schwartz attorney Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller has represented survivors of Larry Nassar and George Tyndall. She is trauma-informed and has extensive experience fighting to compensate sexual assault victims. If Robert Anderson assaulted you or a loved one, please contact Lisa or Michigan alumni and college athlete Matthew Curtis for a free and confidential consultation.
Also, if you have information that the University of Michigan was aware or had reason to know that Dr. Anderson was assaulting students, student-athletes, or patients and turned a blind eye, Lisa and Matt would like to speak with you.
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Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller focuses her practice on medical malpractice, automobile negligence, and general negligence litigation on behalf injured plaintiffs.