The class action case against president-elect Donald Trump and his Trump University for fraud progressed further yesterday, as Trump’s lawyers agreed to enter settlement talks. Plaintiffs allege that Trump University as well as Donald Trump himself made important misstatements and omissions when advertising for the courses offered by the now-defunct program. The plaintiffs in the suit further claim that they relied on these important misstatements and omissions in their decisions to spend tens of thousands of dollars – money they hoped would help them learn the secrets of the real-estate mogul’s business acumen.
Earlier in the day, Trump’s lawyers attempted to exclude from the upcoming trial some of the more shocking statements that Trump made during his campaign, including his accusing Judge Gonzalo Curiel (who currently presides over this case) of bias relating to his Mexican heritage. Judge Curiel hesitantly rejected this request by Trump’s lawyers.
The trial is scheduled to take place on November 28th. Daniel Petrocelli, lead attorney for Trump, has requested the trial be delayed on the grounds that Trump needs the time to work on transitioning into the presidency.
Legal Rights of Those Harmed
In federal court, for a plaintiff to proceed in a fraud (or “misrepresentation”) lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove six essential elements:
- Defendant represented something to be true to the plaintiff,
- The representation was false,
- The defendant knew that this representation was false when it was made,
- The plaintiff relied on and was deceived by the representation,
- The plaintiff acted with ordinary prudence in relying on the representation, and
- The false representation was the proximate cause of injury to the plaintiff.
If plaintiff shows all six of these things, the jury or judge must enter a verdict for the plaintiff. 3 Fed. Jury Prac. & Instr. § 123:02.
If you or someone you know relied on misrepresentations knowingly made by a business or other entity, and you suffered harm (financial or otherwise) as a result, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.