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Arredondo v. Univ. of La Verne – Class Action

CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA, United States District Court — On Feb. 25, 2022, Honorable Mark C. Scarsi, U.S.D.J. authorized the distribution and dissemination of the following notice to all “University of La Verne undergraduate students who paid tuition and/or the Mandatory Fees at La Verne’s Main/Central campus location during the Spring 2020 term/semester.” For more information on the case, you can also visit www.lavernetuitionrefund.com — or contact Michael Tompkins, Esq. at 516.873.9550 or mtompkins@leedsbrownlaw.com.

To: All University of La Verne undergraduate students who paid tuition and/or the Mandatory Fees at La Verne’s Main/Central campus location during the Spring 2020 term/semester.

This notice has been authorized by the Honorable Mark C. Scarsi, U.S.D.J. and may affect your legal rights, including those under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”). This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.
Plaintiff Brianna Arredondo (“Arredondo”) was a student at the University of La Verne (“ULV”) during the Spring Semester of 2020 and she has brought a lawsuit against ULV to recover a partial refund of tuition and fees on behalf all students who enrolled at ULV for the Spring 2020 semester in which the University provided online only educational services because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Plaintiff has filed this as a class action and will present evidence to the Court that other individuals were similarly situated. This Court has certified this case as a class action and trial is scheduled to take place in August 2022.
Defendants deny any wrongdoing and/or liability.
Receipt of this notice does not indicate that you are entitled to receive any monetary recovery. No determination has been made by the Court that you are owed any tuition or fees refunds and the Court is not endorsing the merits of this lawsuit or the defenses at this time. However, this notice advises you of your rights and your ability to opt out of the lawsuit or opt out of the disclosures described below.
1. Why did I get this notice?

The purpose of this notice is to inform you of the status of this lawsuit and that unless you opt out of this case and the disclosures, including your enrollment, registration, and financial data related to the payment of tuition/fees will be provided to Class Counsel and their expert to calculate potential damages as discussed below.

2. What is a class action?

A class action is a lawsuit where persons sue not only for themselves, but also for other people who have similar claims. These other people are known as Class Members. In a class action, one court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class. Honorable Mark C. Scarsi and Magistrate Judge Rozella A. Oliver are handling the case, but do not contact the Court. If you have questions about the case, contact Class Counsel, as described below.

3. How do I join this lawsuit?

If you were enrolled as a student at La Verne’s Main/Central campus as an undergraduate during the Spring 2020 semester you are a member of the Class, and do not need to do anything to join this lawsuit. It is suggested that you speak with Class Counsel, including the attorneys and legal staff at Leeds Brown Law, P.C., The Sultzer Law Group, P.C., Charon Law, and Shoop A Professional Law Corporation. Their contact information is included in the chart below.

You can also visit www.lavernetuitionrefund.com

You are still eligible to be a member of this class action even if you are still enrolled at ULV, and your participation will not impact your academic progress.

4. How do I exclude myself from this lawsuit and from the disclosure of protected information?

If you wish to opt-out and be excluded from the Class, then you must take steps to exclude yourself from this case. If you intend to exclude yourself, you must mail a written, signed statement to Class Counsel (for example, “I opt out of this University of La Verne Refund lawsuit”) by visiting www.lavernetuitionrefund.com, by email or facsimile sent to CPT GROUP at lavernetuitionrefund@cptgroup.com.

If you decide to exclude yourself from this lawsuit, you may not be eligible to receive any benefits in the event that a settlement or judgment is obtained.

Additionally, this notice is provided to you to advise you that some of the financial information is covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) and will be disclosed to allow Class Counsel and their expert to formulate the potential amount of damages that may be owed to students like you – if Plaintiff succeeds in this lawsuit and it becomes a class action.

In accordance with FERPA, the following information will be released as early as April 1, 2022, as it was ordered by Judge Scarsi in this case, unless you provide written notice objecting to its disclosure to CPT Group via lavernetuitionrefund@cptgroup.com by April 13, 2022:

  • Name, contact information, and email address
  • Dates of Attendance
  • Classes Taken During Spring 2020 and Jan. 2020 Interterm
  • Major
  • Graduation and Enrollment Dates
  • Academic Transcript
  • Hours Enrolled during Spring 2020 Semester including during the Jan. 2020 Interterm
  • Full time or part time student status
  • Location of Enrollment (i.e. Main Campus, Online, Regional Campus)
  • Tuition Assessed
  • Tuition Paid (including method of payments)
  • Fees Assessed
  • Fees Paid (including method of payments)
  • Amount of Scholarships, Grants, Loans, and Emergency Relief Funds
  • or other similar information authorized by the Court to be released.

In deciding whether to object or decline disclosure, you should know that Plaintiff and her attorneys have agreed to use your information only for purposes of this lawsuit and agreed not to disclose your information to anyone outside of it, except for its experts – or presenting it to the Court and potentially a jury.

If Class Counsel does not receive this information, then they may not be able to calculate damages or be able to prove your case without it. If you want to limit the disclosure of materials, then contact Class Counsel at 516.873.9550 and 551-370-8776 or visit www.lavernetuitionrefund.com.

5. If I don’t exclude myself from this lawsuit, can I sue Defendants for the same thing later?

If you do not exclude yourself from this lawsuit, you give up any rights to sue Defendants for the breach of contract claims brought in this case or potentially those which could have been brought in this case, or in the future in the event there is a change in existing law.

However, if you exclude yourself from this lawsuit, you have the right to bring a similar lawsuit on your own behalf.

6. Do I need to appear at the Trial? Can I be retaliated against if I am still enrolled at La Verne?

No. You can appear at the trial without any fear of being retaliated against by your school. If you would like to testify at the trial about your experience then contact Class Counsel to arrange that, but there is no obligation that you testify or be present. Additionally, if you feel threatened or harassed from participating in this case, please contact Michael Tompkins at 516.873.9550 or Mindy Dolgoff at 551-370-8776.

7. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

Michael A. Tompkins, Esq.
Jeffrey K. Brown, Esq.
One Old Country Road, Suite 347
Carle Place, NY 11514
Telephone: (516) 873-9550 mtompkins@leedsbrownlaw.com jbrown@leedsbrownlaw.com

Mindy Dolgoff, Esq.
Jason Sultzer, Esq.
270 Madison Avenue, Suite 1800
New York, NY 10016
Telephone: (212) 969-7810 sultzerj@thesultzerlawgroup.com dolgoffm@thesultzerlawgroup.com Perry L. Segal (State Bar No. 250947)
303 Twin Dolphin Drive, Suite 600
Redwood City, California 94065-1422
(650) 542-7935 perry.segal@charonlaw.com

David R. Shoop, Esq. (SBN 220576)
Thomas S. Alch, Esq. (SBN 136860)
SHOOP | A PROFESSIONAL LAW CORPORATION 9701 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 950 Beverly Hills, California 90212
Telephone: (310) 620-9533 David.shoop@shooplaw.com Thomas.alch@shooplaw.com
If you have questions about the case you can also email mtompkins@leedsbrownlaw.com or dolgoffm@thesultzerlawgroup.com – or visit www.lavernetuitionrefund.com

Any attorney fees owed to Class Counsel will be paid out of any recovery that is obtained. If there is a recovery, the fees may be part of a settlement obtained or money judgment entered in favor of Plaintiffs, or may be ordered by the court to be paid by the Defendant, or may be a combination of both. If you are represented by Class Counsel and Plaintiff does not recover anything in this lawsuit, you will not have to pay any attorneys’ fees. You can elect to hire your own counsel if you would like, but you would need to make financial arrangements with that attorney.

Class Counsel will be making strategic decisions about the trial and the presentations of evidence, so that if you feel like you have relevant information pertaining to the educational services that were provided during the Spring 2020 semester and those you reasonably believed would be provided, please contact Michael Tompkins at 516.873.9550 or Mindy Dolgoff at 551-370-8776 such that arrangements can be made to ensure that your testimony or evidence can be considered as part of trial.

8. What is this lawsuit about?

Plaintiff asserts one claim against the Defendant: breach of contract. Plaintiff asserts that students like her paid the full amount of tuition and the full amount of fees, but the ULV provided something less than the full amount of educational services during the Spring 2020 semester – and ULV elected to retain the full amount of tuition and fees for themselves, in violation of California law. Defendant denies all allegations and contends it complied with California laws. Defendant also denies that Plaintiff’s claims are appropriate for resolution as a Class action. The Court has yet to decide the merits of the case. To the extent you have any questions about the legal claims or legal tests, you may contact Class Counsel at 516.873.9550.

9. What if I still have questions?

If you have questions about your rights, you may contact an attorney of your own choosing or you may contact Plaintiff Arredondo’s counsel, Michael A. Tompkins, Esq. of Leeds Brown Law, P.C. at 516.873.9550, mtompkins@leedsbrownlaw.com or Mindy Dolgoff of The Sultzer Law Group, P.C. at dolgoffm@thesulterlawgroup.com – or other Plaintiff’s counsel as listed below. Such communications will be confidential and privileged. Do not contact University of La Verne or its counsel, as any statements may be used against you or the case.


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