Attorneys Helen Zeldes, Alreen Haeggquist, Amber Eck and Aaron Olsen, who for nearly seven years have led the massive consumer class action litigation against Donald J. Trump and Trump University, have released the following statement regarding settlement of the matter.
“We are pleased to announce that a settlement has been reached in the hard-fought class action litigation our firm initiated more than six years ago on behalf of approximately 7,000 consumers against Donald Trump and Trump University. Pursuant to the terms of the settlement, Trump University will pay class members $25 million to settle claims of both class members and the New York Attorney General. Class members will receive a minimum of 55 percent of their damages, with the possibility of recouping the full value of their claims. With any luck, they’ll have the money they wasted on Trump University back in their wallets by the middle of next year. And to further increase their actual recovery, we’ve made the somewhat unprecedented decision not to take any attorneys’ fees for our years of work on this case.
“From the beginning, this has been a true David and Goliath story. Those are the cases we love to pursue, and this was no exception. While we filed this case many years before Donald Trump ran for office, once he became the Republican Party candidate, we were acutely aware of the peculiar difficulties that could arise in litigating against a candidate for America’s highest office in a case like this. These concerns were only heightened when Mr. Trump succeeded in winning the electoral college and became the President-Elect. For nearly seven years, we poured ourselves into fighting on behalf of good people like Sonny Low, J.R. Everett, John Brown and Art Cohen. And it is stories like theirs — and the thousands of other class members just like them — that compelled us to fight this long hard battle on their behalf.
“Many of our clients, like Mr. Low, are getting older, and are still paying off charges on their credit cards for courses they took at Trump University many years ago. The people harmed by Trump University simply cannot afford to wait any longer to be made whole. They are hardworking, decent Americans who deserve to be compensated for the harm they suffered.
“These are the reasons why, at this juncture, we agreed to engage in settlement discussions with Mr. Trump.
“It is incredibly painful for us to stop this fight now, but we are convinced that the settlement we have reached represents an outstanding resolution for the class. We stand behind their claims 100%, but there is always risk in taking a case to trial and that was particularly so here, when the defendant was poised to be the next President of the United States. In federal court, a plaintiff must win a unanimous jury verdict to get any relief. It is with these heavy realities on their minds that our clients chose to resolve their claims short of trial. It has been a privilege to represent the class against Donald Trump and Trump University, and we thank our clients for their unwavering trust in us as we represented their interests in court.”
For Zeldes Haeggquist & Eck LLP