In a major victory, on August 11, 2023, the federal Third Circuit revived KL’s lawsuit, brought with co-counsel, against the University of Pittsburgh for its failure to refund tuition and fees for the period the University was closed in spring 2020 due to Covid. This case, like many others around the country, had accused the school of simply closing itself down even though students had paid tuition for in-classroom teaching and fees for facilities and programs that were no longer available. While other colleges refunded, on a pro rata basis, such monies for the time periods they were closed, Pitt simply pocketed them. The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania had dismissed the case. The Third Circuit’s decision (available here) has revived the case.
Specifically, Third Circuit allowed these claims to proceed: (1) the pro rata share of tuition students paid for the Spring 2020 semester for a first-rate live on-campus education and educational experience during the entire semester, but were provided with a materially different product when the University closed its campus in mid-March 2020 and relegated the students to on-line learning; and (2) the pro rata share of fees that students paid for services and facilities for the entire Spring 2020 semester, which services and facilities were not provided after mid-March 2020. The case will now proceed to discovery. KL brought the case, Hickey v. University of Pittsburgh, 20-cv-690-WSS (W.D. Pa.), with co-counsel Carlson Lynch LLP and the Anastopoulo Law Firm, LLC.