A San Diego federal judge Friday gave final approval to a $25 million settlement between Trump University and plaintiffs in three class-action lawsuits, despite objections by two former students.
The case was tentatively settled Nov. 18, just days after now-President Donald Trump won election to the White House.
Since that time, two people from Florida objected to finalization of the agreement, saying they weren’t given any opportunity to opt out of the settlement as promised. Judge Gonzalo Curiel disagreed in Friday’s ruling.
In the lawsuits, which Trump had vowed never to settle, former students of Trump University alleged that he committed fraud in promising to use “hand- picked” instructors to teach success in real estate through a program that cost up to $35,000.
Attorney Gary Friedman of New York, who represented class member Sherri D. Simpson of Florida, said Simpson was fleeced out of $20,000 by the Trump University real estate program and wanted her day in court.
Even though attorneys for the plaintiffs said some of the 7,000 class members could get back as much as 90 cents on the dollar, Friedman said Simpson still wanted a guilty verdict against Trump, who admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement.
“She (Simpson) was upset that it settled and she didn’t get an apology from Trump,” said Patrick Coughlin, an attorney for the plaintiffs.
Another plaintiff attorney, Jason Forge, said Simpson filed her objection despite already putting in a claim to get money back.
Forge told reporters that if an appeal to Friday’s ruling is filed, the settlement could be held up for two years.
“If he (Judge Curiel) does rule in her favor, nobody’s going to be getting any money any time soon,” Forge said before the ruling.
During a court hearing Thursday, Curiel said he thought the settlement was “fair and reasonable.”
About 4,000 class members have submitted claims to be included in the settlement, the judge said.
—City News Service
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