Tuesday, 21 May, 2019

Court of appeals upholds $25M settlement after former students sue Trump University

Court of appeals upholds $25M settlement after former students sue Trump University Court of appeals upholds $25M settlement after former students sue Trump University
Patty Aguilar | 07 February, 2018, 05:12

The $25 million settlement reached in two Trump University class-action lawsuits can go forward, after a federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected one student's objection.

"Weighed against this was the fairness of the settlement as a whole, which the (district) court estimated would provide class members with nearly a full recovery", wrote Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen, a Barack Obama appointee.

Amber Eck, a leading attorney in the California class action cases, said she was thrilled that the appeals court agreed the settlement was "fair and reasonable". In March 2017, a federal judge the settlement.

The settlement was reached shortly after Trump was elected president.

Simpson was the only valid class member to formally object to the settlement.

The ruling opens the door for thousands of students who sued the defunct Trump University - Trump's real estate success program - to begin receiving their awards. They said about 3,700 former students had submitted claims, majority for $1,500.

At an initial free session, representatives sought to sell the Apprenticeship Program, with its reference to the television show and individual help, for $1,495. "Her assigned mentor quickly disappeared and never returned her calls and emails".

Trump has already paid the $25 million settlement in but the payout to former students was being held in escrow until the Simpson complaint was resolved.

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New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office filed one of the three lawsuits, praised the decision by the appeals court.

The program was billed as included that resources, real estate guidance and "a host of other benefits, none of which ever materialized", Nguyen wrote.

Trump had pledged not to settle and fight all the way to a court showdown, but after he won the election in November 2016, his lawyers settled three fraud cases on his behalf, for a total of $25m, including restitution and fines.

The issue dogged then-candidate Trump during his 2016 presidential run.

About 8,000 former students are eligible to receive 80 to 90 percent of what they paid for Trump University programs, totaling $21 million in two lawsuits filed in California and $4 million in a case filed by the NY attorney general.

That amounts to $21 million for the California suits and an additional $4 million in the case brought by New York State Attorney General of Eric Schneiderman. The move would have derailed the settlement.

"Simpson received, at the class certification stage, a court-approved notice of her right to exclude herself from the class and chose not to do so by the deadline", Nguyen wrote. She argues, however, that the class notice promised her a second opportunity to opt out at the settlement stage, or alternatively, that due process requires this second chance.

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