Altshuler Berzon LLP
177 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 362-8064 Fax
April 30, 2012 – The California Court of Appeal in San Francisco held that the University of California breached its contracts with more than 2,800 of its professional degree students when it raised their fees after they enrolled. The unanimous and extensive Court of Appeal ruling in Luquetta v. Regents (available at the link below) affirms the trial court’s award of more than $39 million in April 2010 in its entirety.
That award provided relief to a class of students who attended University of California professional schools beginning in the 2003-2004 academic year, some of whom were required to pay $10,000 to $20,000 more for their education than they should have under the University policies advertised when students agreed to attend the University.
Altshuler Berzon LLP and Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP, have been counsel for the plaintiffs since 2005.
Judge William R. McGuiness wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel that reasonable incoming students could rely on the information regarding the professional degree fee policy that the University made available to them as they accepted the University’s offers of admission. The Court wrote: “the unequivocal and unqualified promise to limit increases in the professional degree fee to new students only was contained in the last publicly available official fee guide at the time class members accepted offers of admission.” The Court agreed with the trial court that this policy became a binding, enforceable term of the students’ contracts, and that the University breached that contract when it raised fees for medical, dental, law, pharmacy, business, and other professional students repeatedly over the years.
The Court relied extensively on an earlier lawsuit brought by previous classes of professional degree students against the University of California regarding the same policy, Kashmiri v. Regents, in which the trial court and Court of Appeal had also unanimously ruled for the students.