Wright v. Southern New Hampshire University
SNHU Spring 2020 Settlement
Case No. 1:20-cv-00609-LM

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • A Court authorized the notice because you have a right to know about a proposed Settlement of this class action lawsuit and about all of your options, before the Court decides whether to give final approval to the Settlement. The Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, and your legal rights.

    The Honorable Landya B. McCafferty, of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire, is overseeing this case. The case is called Wright v. Southern New Hampshire University, Case No. 1:20-cv-00609-LM. The person who sued is called the Plaintiff. The Defendant is Southern New Hampshire University.

  • In a class action, one or more people called class representatives (in this case, Briana Wright) sue on behalf of a group or a “class” of people who have similar claims. In a class action, the court resolves the issues for all class members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.

  • This lawsuit claims that Defendant breached its contract with its students to provide in-person educational services for the Spring 2020 Semester by transitioning to remote learning in March 2020 without issuing partial tuition and fee refunds. The Defendant denies it violated any law. The Court has not determined who is right. Rather, the Parties have agreed to settle the lawsuit to avoid the uncertainties and expenses associated with ongoing litigation.

  • A joint statement by the Parties to the lawsuit is here. The Court has not decided whether the Plaintiff or the Defendant should win this case. Instead, both sides agreed to a Settlement. That way, they avoid the uncertainties and expenses associated with ongoing litigation, and Class Members will get compensation sooner rather than, if at all, after the completion of a trial.

  • The Court decided that everyone who fits the following description is a member of the Settlement Class:

    Students and former students who paid, or on whose behalf payment was made to, Defendant Southern New Hampshire University for Spring 2020 Semester tuition and fees for in-person educational services, and whose tuition and fees have not been refunded.

  • Monetary Relief: A Settlement Fund has been created totaling $1,250,000.00. Class Member payments, and the cost to administer the Settlement, the cost to inform people about the Settlement, attorneys’ fees (inclusive of litigation costs), and an award to the Class Representative will also come out of this fund (see FAQ 12).

    A detailed description of the settlement benefits can be found in the Settlement Agreement, a copy of which is accessible by clicking here.

  • The amount of this payment will depend on how many requests for exclusion are submitted. Each Class Member who does not opt out of participating in the settlement will receive a proportionate share of the Settlement Fund, which will be based on the total out-of-pocket amount of tuition and fees the Class Member paid for the Spring 2020 Semester. You can contact Class Counsel at (646) 837-7150 to inquire as to the number of requests for exclusion that have been received to date.

  • The hearing to consider the fairness of the settlement occurred on July 29, 2021. If the Court approves the settlement, eligible Class Members will receive their payment 28 days after the Settlement has been finally approved and/or after any appeals process is complete. The payment will be made in the form of a check, and all checks will expire and become void 180 days after they are issued.

  • If you are a Class Member and you want to get a payment, do nothing and you will automatically receive a pro rata share of the Settlement Fund, which will be based on the total out-of-pocket amount of tuition and fees you paid for the Spring 2020 Semester. Your payment will come by check to the residential address on file with SNHU. You may have opted to receive your payment by Venmo or PayPal by filing an Election form on the Settlement Website. The deadline to file an Election Form was July 29, 2021, and has passed. If you have changed addresses or are planning to change addresses prior to August 26, 2021, please click here to complete and submit a change of address form on the Settlement Website.

  • If the Settlement becomes final, you will give up your right to sue the Defendant and other Released Parties for the claims being resolved by this Settlement. The specific claims you are giving up against the Defendant are described in the Settlement Agreement. You will be “releasing” the Defendant and certain of its affiliates, employees and representatives as described in Section 1.24 of the Settlement Agreement. Unless you exclude yourself (see FAQ 13), you are “releasing” the claims, regardless of whether you submit a claim or not. The Settlement Agreement is available here.

    The Settlement Agreement describes the released claims with specific descriptions, so read it carefully. If you have any questions you can talk to the lawyers listed in FAQ 11 for free or you can, of course, talk to your own lawyer if you have questions about what this means.

  • The Court has appointed Bursor & Fisher, P.A. to be the attorneys representing the Settlement Class. They are called “Class Counsel.” They believe, after conducting an extensive investigation, that the Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the Settlement Class. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer in this case, you may hire one at your expense.

  • The Defendant has agreed that Class Counsel’s attorneys’ fees and costs may be paid out of the Settlement Fund in an amount to be determined by the Court. The fee petition will seek no more than one-third of the Settlement Fund, inclusive of reimbursement of their costs and expenses; the Court may award less than this amount. Under the Settlement Agreement, any amount awarded to Class Counsel will be paid out of the Settlement Fund.

    Subject to approval by the Court, Defendant has agreed that the Class Representative may be paid a service award of $5,000 from the Settlement Fund for her services in helping to bring and resolve this case.

  • The deadline to exclude yourself was June 3, 2021, and has passed. If you wanted to exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must have submitted a request for exclusion by 11:59 p.m. EST on June 3, 2021, via this website or mail. Your letter or request for exclusion must also have included your name, your address, your signature, the name and number of this case, and a statement that you wished to be excluded.

  • No. Unless you excluded yourself, you gave up any right to sue the Defendant for the claims being resolved by this Settlement.

  • No. If you excluded yourself, you will not receive any payment from the Settlement Fund.

  • None. SNHU has provided to Class Counsel a list of the Class Members and their contact information. Also, the Court has issued an order permitting SNHU, under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), to disclose to the settlement administrator and Class Counsel, the Spring 2020 Semester out-of-pocket amount for each Class Member. SNHU will release that information no later than five (5) days after July 15, 2021. On or before July 15, 2021, you as a Class Member have the option to request that the Court quash its order requiring such disclosure as to your information.

  • If you are a Class Member, you could have objected to the Settlement if you don’t like any part of it. You could have given reasons why you think the Court should not approve it. The Court will consider your views. The deadline to object was July 15, 2021, and has passed.

    Class Counsel will file with the Court and post on this website its request for attorneys’ fees by July 1, 2021.

    If you wanted to appear and speak at the Final Approval Hearing to object to the Settlement, with or without a lawyer (explained in FAQ 20), you must have said so in your letter or brief. The deadline to object was July 15, 2021, and has passed.

  • Objecting simply means telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself from the Class is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.

  • The Court held a Final Approval Hearing at 2:00 p.m. on July 29, 2021, at United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire, 55 Pleasant Street, Concord, NH 03301. The purpose of the hearing was for the Court to determine whether to approve the Settlement as fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the Class; to consider the Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees and expenses; and to consider the request for an incentive award to the Class Representative. At the hearing, the Court was available to hear any objections and arguments concerning the fairness of the Settlement.

  • The Notice summarizes the Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement here. You may also write with questions to SNHU Spring 2020 Settlement, c/o JND Legal Administration, PO Box 91244, Seattle, WA 98111. You can call the Settlement Administrator at (833) 358-1849 or Class Counsel at (646) 837-7150, if you have any questions. Before doing so, however, please read the full Notice carefully. You may also find additional information elsewhere on this website.

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Mail

SNHU Spring 2020 Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91244
Seattle, WA