ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Emory University is the latest university sued in a student class-action lawsuit seeking to represent all Emory students enrolled at the university for the spring 2020 semester to obtain repayment of tuition, room and board and other expenses in light of the outbreak of COVID-19, as well as parents and guardians left paying those same costs, according to attorneys at Hagens Berman.
If you are paying for college tuition, and/or room and board at a college or university closed due to COVID-19, find out more about the lawsuit and your rights. The law firm is investigating all higher education institutions in the U.S.
The class action lawsuit is brought by a fulltime Emory student and Massachusetts resident and was filed May 8, 2020, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The lawsuit accuses Emory University of breach of contract, unjust enrichment and money had and received. The student alleges that due to Emory’s closure, those enrolled at the university for the spring 2020 semester did not receive the full value of the services paid and did not receive the benefits of in-person instruction they paid for.
The law firm representing the Emory student and proposed class against the university, Hagens Berman, has also recently brought similar suits against the University of Southern California, Boston University, Brown University, George Washington University and Vanderbilt University, in which students and parents sued their universities.
“We believe that Emory’s community – the students that regularly fill its campus, and the parents and guardians who afford their enrollment – deserve payback for the tens of thousands of dollars they paid for tuition and other expenses following Emory’s campus closure and lack of accessible resources to its student body,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and attorney for students in the class action.
Emory Students Denied Refunds
The suit’s named plaintiff states she, like other students, chose Emory due to the very resources and experiences that have been inaccessible amid the outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequent campus closure.
“In matriculating at Emory University, Plaintiff, like other students, enrolled at Defendant for in-person classes to obtain a hands-on educational experience, avail herself of top academic instruction, and directly interact with faculty and classmates to increase her knowledge,” the suit states. “On top of this, Plaintiff enrolled at Defendant to obtain not only the many benefits of Emory University as a whole but also the small-school, small class size environment promoted by Defendant.”
The class action says the suit’s plaintiff has missed out on access to professors, functional lectures and a variety of student activities. Emory has also denied access to dining halls, campus transportation, group study spaces, libraries and athletic facilities to those enrolled for the spring 2020 semester.
The lawsuit says while Defendant has offered some refunds, it has done so only partially: “While Plaintiff vacated campus at Defendant’s direction on March 17, 2020, Defendant limits its refunds to a prorated period starting March 23, 2020. And Plaintiff’s balance of dining dollars were refunded at a 40% basis,” according to the complaint.
“We believe Emory students deserve more than what the university is offering them,” Berman added.
The suit states that during the spring 2020 semester, Emory costs students $26,535 in tuition, not including room and board, and other expenses, “significantly higher than online only programs.” Emory’s spring 2020 cost for room averages at $4,319, and $3,167 for board per semester.
Other Affected Universities
Hagens Berman is investigating the rights of those who are currently paying for room and board, and/or tuition at colleges and universities across the nation that have been forced to close due to the outbreak of COVID-19. This may include parents, guardians or college students who are paying for their own costs of college.
Despite orders from colleges and universities sending home students and closing campuses, these institutions of higher learning continue to charge for tuition and room and board. Collectively, these institutions are continuing to receive millions from students despite their inability to continue school as normal, or occupy campus buildings and dorms.
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with nine offices across the country. The firm’s tenacious drive for plaintiffs’ rights has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” and MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.