TRUMP UNIVERSITY LAWSUIT | ZHE LAW, LLP
Zeldes Haeggquist & Eck, LLP is class counsel in a nationwide consumer fraud class action filed against Trump University, alleging Trump University made materially false and misleading misstatements in its advertising and in its real estate seminars, in violation of federal and state law. Trump University misrepresented that its real estate investing classes constituted a “complete real estate education,” a “one year apprenticeship,” and a one-on-one mentorship. Instead, each seminar was merely an “infomercial” to up-sell the student to purchase an additional Trump Seminar at a cost of up to $35,000. Makaeff v. Trump University, LLC, Case No. 10CVU940-IEG-WVG (S.D. Cal.).
TRUMP UNIVERSITY LAWSUIT UPDATES
On October 27, 2014, the Court in a RICO class action against Donald Trump issued an Order granting class certification of a nationwide class of all students who purchased live event seminars from Trump University from January 1, 2007 to the present. For more information regarding this Order, please visit our blog here.
On June 17, 2014, the Southern District Court issued an Order granting Plaintiff Tarla Makaeff’s Anti-SLAPP motion against Trump University, LLC (“Trump”), thereby dismissing Trump’s specious $1 million defamation counter-claim against Makaeff. While the victory came more than four years after Trump filed its counterclaim, Makaeff’s case resulted in an important reaffirmation of the applicability of the anti-SLAPP law in federal court. Because Makeaff’s statements arose from protected activity and Trump could not show a probability of prevailing on its defamation claim, the court granted Makaeff’s anti-SLAPP motion. The California Anti-SLAPP Project, a leader in protecting First Amendment Rights, published a thorough article discussing Makaeff’s Anti-SLAPP motion, which can be found by visiting their website here.
On February 21, 2014, the Southern District Court issued an Order granting in part Plaintiffs’ Motion to Certify a class action against Trump University, LLC and Donald J. Trump. The Court certified a class on behalf of all persons who purchased a Trump University three-day live “Fulfillment” workshop and/or “Elite” program (“Live Events”) in California, New York and Florida. The Court appointed Zeldes Haeggquist & Eck, LLP and Robbins Geller Rudman & Down, LLP as class counsel.
Also on February 21, 2014, the Southern District Court issued an Order denying Donald J. Trump’s motion to dismiss Plaintiff Art Cohen’s RICO complaint against Trump asserting violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO Statute”), 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c).
On November 27, 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal issued an Order denying Trump University’s petition for re-hearing en banc in regard to the Ninth Circuit’s Order reversing the dismissal of Plaintiff’s Anti-SLAPP motion.
On October 18, 2013, Plaintiff Art Cohen filed a RICO complaint against Donald Trump, asserting violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO Statute”), 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c).
On April 17, 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal issued an Order reversing the district court’s denial of Plaintiff Tarla Makaeff’s Anti-SLAPP motion. The Court held that Trump University is considered a “limited public figure,” due to its extensive advertising campaign, and thus would have to prove that Makaeff acted with actual malice when she accused it of fraud, in order to prevail on its defamation claim.
On September 26, 2012, Plaintiffs filed a Third Amended Complaint.
On September 24, 2012, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Class Certification.
On October 12, 2010, the Southern District of California issued an Order upholding our first amended class action complaint against Trump University as to nearly all claims, including claims for breach of contract, false advertising, violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law (finding Plaintiffs stated a claim that Trump University’s conduct was unlawful, unfair and… fraudulent) and Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), with leave to amend as to the other claims.
A Second Amended Complaint was filed on December 16, 2010.
Trump University has also been named “Rogue of the Week” by the Willamette Week.
On October 12, 2010, the Southern District of California issued an Order upholding our first amended class action complaint against Trump University as to nearly all claims, including claims for breach of contract, false advertising, violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), with leave to amend as to the other claims.
We are happy to report that the Court on May 17, 2011 issued and Order Denying Donald Trump’s Motion to Dismiss and Order denying Trump University’s Motion to Dismiss, upholding Plaintiffs claims for against both Donald Trump and Trump University for Fraud, Misrepresentation, Violation of the Unfair Competition Law, Consumer Legal Remedies Act, and False Advertising.
TRUMP UNIVERSITY LAWSUIT NEWS
May 12, 2011 – New York Times, “Buying a Trump Property, or So They Thought“
May 7, 2011 – Forbes, “Trump University’s Unhappy Students.”
May 6, 2011 – The Huffington Post, “Trump’s ‘University’ Accused of Scamming Customers.”
May 5, 2011 – San Francisco Chronicle, “Trump’s Real Estate Courses Didn’t Deliver, Lawsuit Says.”
April 26, 2011 – The Trump University lawsuit was featured on NPR’s “These Days” with Alison St. John and KPBS Legal Analyst Dan Eaton.
April 19, 2011 – NBC Nightly News airs a story on Donald Trump, mentioning Trump University.