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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: 308111

Reported Deaths: 7122
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20826248
Hinds19910411
Harrison17510302
Rankin13334276
Jackson13118243
Madison9908210
Lee9871170
Jones8297160
Forrest7525147
Lauderdale7198237
Lowndes6272144
Lamar611084
Lafayette6039117
Washington5281133
Bolivar4772129
Oktibbeha455897
Panola4445103
Pearl River4428141
Warren4284118
Marshall4276100
Pontotoc416972
Monroe4061132
Union403975
Neshoba3994176
Lincoln3871109
Hancock372885
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329589
Tate322782
Pike3188104
Scott310872
Yazoo304468
Alcorn298065
Itawamba297177
Copiah293265
Coahoma289778
Simpson288284
Tippah284868
Prentiss275759
Marion266079
Leake261373
Wayne261341
Grenada255384
Covington254780
Adams246082
Newton245161
George238147
Winston225981
Tishomingo222267
Jasper219748
Attala213473
Chickasaw205057
Holmes186872
Clay182854
Stone179331
Clarke177076
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163531
Yalobusha159236
Smith158834
Walthall130643
Greene129433
Lawrence126423
Noxubee126233
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120926
Amite120141
Webster113532
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102725
Claiborne101330
Benton97325
Kemper95428
Humphreys94332
Franklin82123
Quitman78916
Choctaw73417
Wilkinson64928
Jefferson64828
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 520503

Reported Deaths: 10722
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754091487
Mobile38938798
Madison33898495
Tuscaloosa25297443
Montgomery23992567
Shelby23124239
Baldwin20652300
Lee15541165
Calhoun14301311
Morgan14145270
Etowah13665346
Marshall11967219
Houston10381278
Elmore10001200
Limestone9822147
Cullman9481188
St. Clair9435234
Lauderdale9223227
DeKalb8748181
Talladega8071171
Walker7100275
Jackson6762110
Autauga6734103
Blount6497135
Colbert6210130
Coffee5404112
Dale4766110
Russell429038
Franklin419982
Chilton4087109
Covington4056114
Tallapoosa3898146
Escambia388574
Dallas3531149
Chambers3503122
Clarke346560
Marion3066100
Pike305876
Lawrence295395
Winston272572
Bibb256459
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens233059
Barbour225255
Hale218775
Butler212566
Fayette209260
Henry187744
Cherokee182144
Randolph176941
Monroe172040
Washington164238
Macon154848
Clay149555
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146241
Lamar139334
Lowndes136553
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109128
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene91034
Choctaw58724
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