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Appeals court approves Trump University settlement

A federal appeals court on Tuesday approved a $25 million settlement to resolve lawsuits brought by former students o...

Posted: Feb 7, 2018 6:17 AM
Updated: Feb 7, 2018 6:17 AM

A federal appeals court on Tuesday approved a $25 million settlement to resolve lawsuits brought by former students of Trump University who claimed they were defrauded by the now-defunct school.

In the process, the court denied the appeal of former student Sherri Simpson, who said she wanted to opt-out of the settlement to personally sue President Donald Trump.

Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, along with two other judges in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, upheld a district court's earlier decision. The appeal's panel wrote that the settlement's approval was reasonable and prevented the risk and complexity of suing a sitting president.

"Plaintiffs would have faced significant hurdles had they proceeded to trial, including the difficulty of prevailing in a jury trial against either the President Elect... or the sitting President," Nguyen wrote.

In November 2016, just days after the election, Trump agreed to settle three lawsuits filed against his real estate school that argued the program featured false advertisements and empty promises. Despite its name, Trump University, which ceased operations in 2010, was not a licensed university. Former students are now eligible for a refund of up to 90% of the money they spent on courses.

An attorney for Trump did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

Simpson, a registered Democrat who was featured in an anti-Trump commercial, argued she did not have sufficient opportunity to opt-out of the settlement. Her lawyers said notices sent to Trump University students suggested they would have another chance to do so after any settlement was proposed. She wanted to sue the president for the roughly $19,000 she spent on Trump University courses plus triple that amount in damages.

The appeals court judges disagreed. Judge Nguyen wrote that Simpson was the only person out of 8,000 former students to interpret the notice that way.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office filed one of the three lawsuits, praised the decision by the appeals court.

"For years, President Trump refused to compensate the victims of his sham university. His reversal in 2016-and the large-scale settlement that resulted-opened the door for student victims to finally obtain the restitution they deserve," Schneiderman said.

Trump repeatedly denied the fraud claims and said that he could have won at trial, but he said that as president he did not have time because he wanted to focus on the country.

Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who Trump said could not be impartial due to his Mexican heritage, approved the settlement in March, but Simpson stalled the payout of that money with her appeal filed in May. At the appeals hearing last November, one of President Trump's attorneys said the president had changed his opinion of Judge Curiel, citing the "textbook example of a district court properly administering a settlement."

Gary Friedman, an attorney for Simpson, said his client does not plan to challenge the judges' decision further. "The facts of this real estate school deserve to see the light of day. We're disappointed that that didn't happen, but we accept this decision," Friedman told CNN.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 341862

Reported Deaths: 7533
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23783441
DeSoto23180283
Harrison20365329
Rankin15307290
Jackson15087251
Madison10917227
Lee10674179
Jones8969169
Forrest8621159
Lauderdale7839243
Lowndes7016151
Lamar696289
Lafayette6535124
Washington5589139
Pearl River5141152
Bolivar4949134
Oktibbeha491698
Panola4766112
Warren4709127
Marshall4691106
Pontotoc446273
Union432579
Monroe4322137
Neshoba4268181
Hancock423788
Lincoln4171116
Pike3650113
Leflore3619125
Tate352888
Alcorn349574
Sunflower347194
Adams340588
Scott340176
Yazoo338575
Copiah323468
Simpson322090
Itawamba314180
Coahoma313385
Tippah304768
Prentiss297863
Covington291883
Leake284675
Marion283681
Wayne276143
George270551
Grenada268888
Newton261564
Tishomingo239370
Winston236584
Jasper229548
Attala225973
Stone225337
Chickasaw218760
Holmes199274
Clay196754
Clarke186280
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181232
Smith178935
Yalobusha171340
Walthall145348
Lawrence141626
Greene139734
Amite136943
Noxubee134835
Perry133238
Montgomery132244
Carroll125931
Webster121032
Jefferson Davis116234
Tunica113427
Benton106225
Claiborne105031
Kemper102329
Humphreys100133
Franklin87723
Quitman84619
Choctaw82319
Wilkinson77732
Jefferson71128
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 577463

Reported Deaths: 11510
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson841981589
Mobile47171860
Madison37047533
Tuscaloosa26915465
Shelby26873256
Montgomery25918625
Baldwin24499328
Lee16949181
Calhoun15252332
Morgan15017290
Etowah14778370
Marshall12933235
Houston11774292
Elmore10761217
St. Clair10617252
Limestone10574158
Cullman10363205
Lauderdale10083254
DeKalb9382191
Talladega8836188
Walker7681287
Autauga7479114
Jackson7317117
Blount7266139
Colbert6635142
Coffee6163132
Dale5453117
Russell470642
Chilton4682117
Covington4649125
Franklin450081
Tallapoosa4440156
Escambia427882
Chambers3898125
Dallas3717163
Clarke367763
Marion3427106
Pike327879
Lawrence3225101
Winston294973
Bibb284565
Geneva276383
Marengo259967
Barbour246261
Pickens240062
Butler238272
Hale232778
Fayette225264
Henry209245
Monroe197241
Randolph196744
Cherokee196348
Washington180139
Macon168752
Crenshaw165558
Clay163759
Cleburne160245
Lamar149938
Lowndes144854
Wilcox130531
Bullock126142
Conecuh119630
Coosa116929
Perry109928
Sumter109032
Greene98736
Choctaw64325
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