Haeggquist & Eck proudly served as court-appointed Co-Lead Class Counsel in two class action lawsuits brought on behalf of consumers duped into paying tens of thousands of dollars for Donald Trump’s real estate investing scheme called “Trump University.” The cases claimed that Donald J. Trump and his so-called “university” violated federal and state laws by falsely advertising seminars and mentorships as teaching Trump’s “real-estate secrets” through his “hand-picked” “professors” at his “elite” university. In reality, according to the suit, the instructors were high-pressure salespeople paid on a commission basis to up-sell consumers to even more expensive courses (including the “Gold Elite” course for $34,995), and these salesmen were never trained on Trump’s “real-estate secrets” much less taught them. Among other relief, the suit sought refunds for all “Live Event” students across the country who had not yet received them, with additional penalties and/or fines for senior citizens in California and Florida, and treble damages in the Cohen RICO case.
In November 2016, we announced that the matter had settled for an incredible $25 million. We issued the following statement regarding the case:
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 more information on the settlement, please see the TrumpUniversityLitigation.com website, which has answers to many frequently asked questions and will be regularly updated. Please note that on May 1, 2017, class member and objector Sherri Simpson filed a Notice of Appeal that she will be appealing the District Court’s Order Granting Joint Motion For Final Approval Of Settlement and the Final Judgment to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The review of claim forms is ongoing; however no settlement payments can be made during the pendency of the appeal. We are currently unable to estimate the duration of the appeal; however typically an appeal can take months or years to resolve. This website will be updated with additional information when it becomes available.
MORE TRUMP UNIVERSITY LAWSUIT NEWS
“Lawyers for Trump University plaintiffs reveal how they got the case and why they’re forgoing a fee” — ABA Journal, Dec. 20, 2016
“Trump Guarantees to Fund ‘Trump U’ Class Action Settlement Days Before He Takes Office” — National Law Journal, Dec. 20, 2016
“Trump University Settlement Filed With Judge” — Courthouse News Service, Dec. 20. 2016
‘A dog and pony show,’ lawyer in class-action suit says, recalling … The San Diego Union-Tribune–Dec 11, 2016
Would Trump Have Won Trump University Cases? Evidence Says He Faced Hard Fight – The New York Times Nov 23, 2016
Donald Trump agrees to $25-million settlement in lawsuits against … Los Angeles Times – Nov 18, 2016
$25M settlement reached in Trump University lawsuits – The San Diego Union-Tribune–Nov 18, 2016
Lead plaintiff in San Diego case reacts to Trump University settlement – CBS 8 San Diego–Nov 18, 2016
Trump settles class action suit for $25 million – LGBT Weekly–Nov 23, 2016
Donald Trump Agrees To Pay $25 Million To Settle Trump University Fraud Cases -The Huffington Post Nov 18, 2016
Donald Trump Agrees to Pay $25 Million in Trump University Settlement -The New York Times Nov 18, 2016