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New Cases and Developments

NACUA's Legal Resources staff summarizes current higher education cases and developments and provides the full text of selected cases to members. New cases and developments are archived here for up to 12 months.  Cases provided by Fastcase, Inc.

Selected Topics: Students
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Financial Aid; Students; Government Relations; Authorizations & Regulations

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by the U.S. Department of Education to Delay Final Regulations Affecting Student Loan Programs (Oct. 24, 2017)

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by the Department of Education to delay until July 1, 2019, the effective date of selected provisions of final regulations under the Student Assistance General Provisions, Federal Perkins Loan Program, Federal Family Education Loan Program, William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, and Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant Program. The Department will continue to process borrower defense claims under existing regulations during the delay and borrowers may continue to apply for the discharge of their loans under these programs. Interested parties are invited to comment on or before November 24, 2017.

10/25/2017
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Financial Aid; Students; Government Relations; Authorizations & Regulations

Interim Final Rule by the U.S. Department of Education Delaying Selected Provisions of Final Regulations Affecting Student Loan Programs (Oct. 24, 2017)

Interim Final Rule published by the U.S. Department of Education delaying the effective date of final regulations of various student loan programs to July 1, 2018. The selected regulations originally had an effective date of July 1, 2017, and concern the Department’s standard and process for adjudicating borrower defense claims, requirements relating to financial responsibility standards, provisions that require institutions to provide warnings about their students’ loan repayment rates, and prohibitions against institutions’ use of arbitration or class action waivers in their agreements with students. The Department cited the pending litigation, California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools v. DeVos, among other reasons, for delaying the effective date of the selected regulations. The Department invites interested parties to comment on or before November 24, 2017.

10/25/2017
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Financial Aid; Students; Government Relations; Authorizations & Regulations

Federal Student Aid Dear Colleague Letter on the Wind-down of the Federal Perkins Loan Program (Oct. 6, 2017)

Dear Colleague Letter issued by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education providing additional information on the wind-down process outlined in the Perkins Loan Program Extension Act of 2015. The Letter discusses the expiration of authority for making new Federal Perkins Loans for graduate and undergraduate students, the process by which participating institutions are to either return or distribute the assets of institutions’ Federal Perkins Loan Revolving Fund, and the option of assigning both non-defaulted and defaulted Perkins Loans to the U.S. Department of Education. Individuals with questions about the Letter should contact the department by email, or contact (877) 801-7168 for campus-based questions. 

10/24/2017
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Bankruptcy & Student Debt; Students

Chorches v. The Catholic University of America (D. Conn. October 16, 2017)

Order granting Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff, a trustee of the bankruptcy estate of the Franzese family, alleged that the Franzeses fraudulently transferred funds to Catholic University as payments for their daughter’s tuition in an effort to deter or hinder collection by their creditors. For a successful fraudulent transfer claim, Plaintiff had to prove that the Franzese family was insolvent on the date of the transfer or became insolvent as a result of the transfer, and that Defendant received less than a reasonably equivalent value for the good or service offered. The court found that Plaintiff failed to plead facts showing that the Franzeses were financially distressed when they made the alleged payments and therefore, Plaintiff could not prove that the Franzeses were insolvent on the date of the transfer or became insolvent as a result of the transfer. 

10/18/2017
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Financial Aid; Bankruptcy & Student Debt; Students

Hugh Lawrence Brooks v. University of Maryland, et al. (Bankr. S.D. Ind. September 14, 2017)

Order granting Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff sought to discharge his student loan debt from the University of Maryland for undue hardship. The court found that Plaintiff could not meet the burden of proving undue hardship because he was the only member of his household, had net annual earnings of over $110,000, and by his own admission acknowledged that “his income and expected future income is and will be adequate for him to afford the basic necessities of life.”

9/20/2017
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Sexual Misconduct & Other Campus Violence; Student Housing; Students; Sexual Misconduct & Other Campus Violence

Jane Doe 7 v. University of Kansas (D. Kan. September 13, 2017)

Memorandum and Order partially denying Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss and deferring judgment on Defendant’s argument under the Kansas Consumer Protection Act (KCPA). Plaintiff, a student of the University of Kansas (KU),was sexually assaulted in a KU residence hall. She joined a class action lawsuit alleging that the University violated the KCPA by purportedly making false representations about the safety of the university’s residence halls. Plaintiff previously filed an individual claim in state court, which was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds.  In the present case, the Defendant sought to dismiss Plaintiff’s claim under the doctrine of res judicata.  Because the state court’s dismissal for lack of constitutional standing was not a decision on the merits, the court allowed Plaintiff’s claim under the KCPA to proceed. However, it deferred judgment on the merits, granting Plaintiff leave to amend complaint to allege with particularity facts giving rise to a violation of the KCPA. 

9/20/2017
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Title IX; Students; Discrimination, Accommodation, & Diversity; Sexual Misconduct & Other Campus Violence

Crystal Kocsis v. Florida State University Board of Trustees, et al. (N.D. Fla. August 10, 2017)

Report and Recommendation granting in part and denying in part Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff, a PhD student at Florida State University (FSU), proceeding pro se, alleged discrimination and retaliation under Title IX, when a professor purportedly made multiple disparaging remarks to female students and students of color and Defendants in turn, failed to properly investigate and respond to the allegations. Although the court dismissed Plaintiff’s claims against Individual Defendants, since Title IX limits liability to funding recipients, the court allowed Plaintiff’s remaining Title IX claims to proceed.  After holding that  Plaintiff, as a bystander to the offensive remarks, had standing to bring forth her claim, the court concluded that the Complaint alleged sufficient facts to state a plausible deliberate indifference claim, even though FSU had undertaken a full Equal Opportunity investigation and found that Plaintiff’s claims did not amount to harassment.

9/13/2017
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Students; Discrimination, Accommodation, & Diversity

Elizabeth Black v. Nat’l Bd. of Med. Exam’rs (M.D. Fla. September 1, 2017)

Order granting Defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff, a student at the University of South Florida’s medical school, brought a claim under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) alleging Defendant, the National Board of Medical Examiners, failed to accommodate her request for time-and-a-half on her fourth sitting of the “Step One” examination following her diagnosis of ADHD. To qualify for an accommodation under the ADA, a person must show that a disorder “substantially” limits her in comparison to “most people in the general population.” The court looked to Plaintiff’s extensive record of academic and professional achievement, lack of evidence of substantial limitation as compared to the general population by four expert witnesses, and Plaintiff’s failure to request an ADA accommodation over the course of her lifetime until failing the Step One examination three times, to conclude that no reasonable finder of fact could find that ADHD substantially limited the Plaintiff in comparison to most people in the general population. 

9/6/2017
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