Important Update: Notice to Additional Students in the Johns Hopkins University settlement completed on September 5, 2023. Please check your email for a Notice if you believe you should be included in this Settlement. Settlement benefits to the Additional Students sent notice on September 5, 2023, were mailed on February 16, 2024.
What is this Settlement about?
Elena Botts (“Named Plaintiff”) was a student at The Johns Hopkins University (“Defendant”) during the Spring 2020 Semester when Defendant transitioned to remote learning and services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2022, she filed this lawsuit (the “Litigation”), alleging that, among other things, Defendant breached the terms of the contract entered into with Plaintiff and similarly situated individuals when it stopped providing in-person and on-campus educational services, as well as access to certain campus services and facilities in March 2020. Named Plaintiff sought, for herself and all others similarly situated, a pro-rated refund of tuition and fees for the period that Defendant switched to remote learning and services.
Defendant contests the claims in the Litigation, denies any and all liability and wrongdoing, and is very confident in the quality of the education and services the University provided to its students throughout the pandemic, including through a variety of financial, academic, and other supports. The Parties have decided to settle the Litigation to avoid the expense, inconvenience, and distraction of litigation. The Court has not decided who is right and who is wrong or whether this case could, in the absence of settlement, proceed as a class action.
The Parties have agreed to settle the Litigation subject to the approval of the Court via a signed Class Settlement Agreement and Release (the “Settlement Agreement”). Defendant has agreed to pay a maximum of six million six hundred thousand dollars ($6,600,000.00) to create a Settlement Fund that will provide compensation to Settlement Class members, pay for notice and administration, provide for any approved Service Award to Named Plaintiff, and compensate Class Counsel for any approved attorneys’ fees and costs.
In the Addendum to the Settlement Agreement, preliminarily approved on August 8, 2023, Defendant has agreed to pay an additional one million four hundred sixty-nine thousand one hundred thirty-eight dollars and sixty-seven cents ($1,469,138.67) to the Settlement Fund to provide compensation to the Additional Students identified as Settlement Class members, pay for notice and administration of the second phase of this settlement, provide for any approved Service Award to Named Plaintiff, and compensate Class Counsel for any approved attorneys’ fees and costs.
Who is included?
The Settlement Class includes students who paid Johns Hopkins Spring Semester 2020 tuition and/or fees for in-person educational services, whose tuition and fees have not been refunded. The Spring Semester 2020 means the period January 2, 2020, to June 12, 2020 and refers to the academic programming offered by Defendant during that period. If you received a notice of class action settlement in Elena Botts v. Johns Hopkins University ("Notice") you may be entitled to participate, and your legal rights may be affected. These rights and options are summarized below.
How do I participate?
To participate, you do not need to do anything. If the Court approves the Settlement, Settlement Class members will receive a check. Each Settlement Class member who does not opt out of the Litigation will receive a proportionate share of the Settlement Fund depending upon how much in tuition and fees they paid to Defendant for in-person educational services for the Spring 2020 Semester.
YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS SETTLEMENT
|To participate, you do not need to do anything. If the Court approves the Settlement, you will receive a check. You will be bound by the Final Approval Order and will release the Class Released Claims, meaning that you will not be allowed to pursue the claims raised in this Litigation against Defendant separately.
|If you wish to exclude yourself (“opt out”) from the Litigation, you must follow the directions in FAQ 7. If you opt out, you will not be bound by the settlement, will not receive a settlement payment, and may be able to sue Defendant yourself at your own expense.
OBJECT TO THE
|If you choose to remain in the Settlement Class, you may write to the Court if you believe the Settlement is unfair or unreasonable according to the directions in FAQ 12. You may request to speak to the Court about your objection at the Final Approval Hearing. If the Court overrules your objection, you will still be bound by the terms of the Settlement Agreement, but you will also receive any proceeds due to you under it.