Court Approves $14.25 Million Dollar Class Action Settlement for Women Who Used Religious Bath Where Georgetown Rabbi Made Secret Recordings
On October 22, 2018, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia approved a $14,250,0000 class action settlement on behalf of women who used a religious bath at the National Capital Mikvah in Washington, DC, where then Rabbi Bernard Freundel was making secret recordings.
Since Freundel was taken into custody on October 14, 2014, Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. has been closely involved in the pending litigation and representation of women who were victimized by Freundel. Our firm filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of victims, and co-counseled with appointed class counsel Sanford Heisler, LLP. Now that a settlement has been reached and approved by the Court, our team would like to provide additional information for class members.
According to the finalized settlement, all females who were confirmed as videotaped by Freundel will automatically receive a minimum payment of $25,000, upon submission of a registration form confirming that they were videotaped. In addition, women who used the mikvah but were not confirmed as videotaped by Freundel will receive a minimum payment of $2,500 if they submit paperwork confirming that they used the mikvah and suffered emotional distress after learning of Freundel’s videotaping.
SUPPLEMENTAL PAYMENT & CONFIDENTIAL CLAIM FORM
In addition to these base payments, each registered class member will be eligible to receive an additional payment if she chooses to complete a confidential claim form describing the harm she suffered. To minimize the intrusiveness of the inquiry, class members are not required to complete any in-person interviews and are permitted to skip questions in the claim form that they may be uncomfortable answering.
The amount of the supplemental payment will be determined by an independent claims expert who will consider multiple factors:
- The level of emotional distress, physical sickness and / or physical injuries the class member suffered;
- Whether the class member received any medical diagnoses and / or treatment from any health care provider(s);
- The extent to which the class member suffered disruptions to her relationship with her spouse, fiancé, or romantic partner;
- Any disruption to the class member’s professional and social life;
- Any adverse impact on religious faith and practice, including any conversion to Orthodox Judaism that was adversely affected;
- The duration of the class member’s relationship with Freundel;
- Whether use of the mikvah and / or relationship with Freundel arose from a religious, rather than an educational setting;
- The number of times and / or length of time the class member was videotaped;
- The number of times the class member disrobed in the Mikvah;
- Any fees paid to use the Mikvah;
- Whether the class member participated in the criminal case against Freundel; and
- The presence of any other aggravating factors, such as status as a minor, the nature of her relationship with Freundel, and any history of abuse.
For complete details on the settlement, and instructions on how to register or object to the settlement, click here to access the Notice of Class Action Settlement.
Click here to access the Registration Form. Registration Forms must be postmarked, or transmitted (if sent by e-mail) by no later than November 13, 2018.
If you have any questions about this settlement, please call (202) 659-8600 or e-mail Partner Allan M. Siegel.