Stephan Zouras secured a $3.25 million dollar settlement on behalf of approximately 54,000 students who attended the University of Minnesota during the Spring, 2020 semester.
With the cost of attending universities in the United States more expensive than ever, every expense matters. The University of Minnesota (“UNM”) charges Student Services Fees to its students with promises of unique and meaningful in-person, on-campus experiences ranging from extracurriculars to healthcare.
While UNM students paid a Student Services Fee at the beginning of the semester expecting in-person experiences, in the middle of the semester all students were sent home and the vast majority of in-person services were cancelled or offered remotely only. Yet students did not receive a refund fully capturing the loss of value for their paid, yet unsatisfied Student Services Fee.
Student refund lawsuits presented a unique and unprecedented field of litigation in 2020 and Stephan Zouras – as seasoned class action attorneys – were once again at the forefront of such unique and complex litigation with the filing of the lawsuit Staubus v. Regents of the University of Minnesota (later consolidated with Hyatte v. The University of Minnesota). Following victories at the class certification and summary judgment stage, and just one month before the matter was set for a jury trial, Stephan Zouras and its co-counsel successfully negotiated a settlement on behalf of all UNM students enrolled in the Spring 2020 semester who paid a student services fee.
The settlement was finally approved by the Hon. Laurie J. Miller (Hennepin County Dist. Ct.) on December 1, 2023. Each of the more than 50,000 students will receive a check for approximately $38. This amounts to 23% of the total Mandatory Fees charged and paid for the Spring 2020 semester and approximately 62% of the total Student Services Fees paid by students and retained by the University, which constitutes most of the total at-issue fees charged and paid by the Class.
As covered by the Star Tribune, Judge Miller noted: “I think you hammered out a settlement that is ultimately fair to both sides.”
You can read more about this landmark settlement at several news outlets, including: