OSU and UO students sue respective universities for COVID-19 compensation

The Oregon State University president’s office is housed in the Kerr Administration building on the Corvallis, Ore. campus.

Angela Tam, News Contributor

Students from Oregon State University and University of Oregon have filed two separate class-action lawsuits against the two institutions, both seeking repayment for tuition and fees citing university closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

OSU students Danielle Pranger and Garrett Harris filed their suit on March 5 in the Circuit Court of the State of Oregon for the County of Multnomah. They are claiming an amount equal to $10,000,000 or greater; the exact amount will be determined at trial. However, the amount will be related to unrefunded tuition and fees paid by students, and an award of attorney fees, costs, and disbursements.

According to Hagens Berman Legal Team, these students stated that while OSU barred students from accessing in-person education, campus facilities, amenities and paid-for activities, they continued to collect the full amount of tuition and fees. Attorneys say this amounts to a breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

The class-action lawsuit has named OSU, President Emeritus F. King Alexander in his capacity as a member of the Board of Trustees and the rest of the members of the OSU Board of Trustees. Members of the OSU Board of Trustees include Mike Bailey, Patricia M. Bedient, Rani Borkar, Julia Brim‐Edwards, Darald W. Callahan, Michele Longo Eder, Lamar Hurd, Khawater Hussein, Paul J. Kelly, Jr., Julie Manning, Preston Pulliams, Kirk E. Schueler, Stephanie Smith and Michael G. Thorne.  

Pranger and Harris, as of March 5, remain full-time undergraduate students, are citizens and residents of the State of Oregon.

Hagens Berman Legal Team said via email they have begun filing cases related to this nature early in the COVID-19 pandemic and have continued to do so over the course of the last year. As the firm has filed more cases, more tuition-payers have reached out to us to file lawsuits.

The legal team also said these are the first cases filed against these two universities related to COVID-19 campus closures and tuition.

“Our firm has filed other cases against other universities that have survived motions to dismiss from defendants and are continuing through the court, as we expect this one will,” Hagens Berman Legal Team said via email.

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