Feb. 6 (UPI) — A $25 million settlement against Trump University was upheld Tuesday after a federal appeals court rejected a challenge from one plaintiff who wanted to take the case to trial.
The settlement, which was a result of a class action lawsuit brought by former students who said the school made lavish but unrealized promises about real estate success, was given final approval last March by Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel. But Sherri Simpson, a plaintiff who spent $19,000 on Trump University workshops, wanted to opt out of the settlement and file a separate suit against Donald Trump.
That request was denied Tuesday by Federal Judge Jacqueline Nguyen.
“This appeal involves a lone objector, Sherri Simpson, who seeks to opt out of the class and bring her claims in a separate lawsuit, which would derail the settlement,” Nguyen wrote in the opinion, which was joined by Judges Andrew Hurwitz and Steven Logan. “Simpson does not dispute that she received, at the class certification stage, a court-approved notice of her right to exclude herself from the class and chose not to do so by the deadline. She argues, however, that the class notice promised her a second opportunity to opt out at the settlement stage, or alternatively, that due process requires this second chance. Neither argument is correct.”
With the court affirming the settlement, about 4,000 former Trump University students could receive up to 90 percent of the tuition they paid for real estate seminars.
Simpson’s attorney, Gary Friedman, told Politico that his client will give up her pursuit to take the case to trial.
“I’m not surprised, but we are disappointed that there will never be a public trial on Trump University and that all of the lurid facts about the fraud won’t receive the public hearing they deserve,” Friedman said.
Trump has already paid the $25 million settlement in but the payout to former students was being held in escrow until the Simpson complaint was resolved.