Elena Botts v. Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University Settlement
Case No.: 1:20-cv-01335-JRR

Frequently Asked Questions


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  • You received Notice because Defendant’s records show that you were enrolled as a student at Johns Hopkins University in the Spring 2020 Semester affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, paid some amount for tuition or student fees for in-person educational services, and may therefore be an eligible Settlement Class member.

  • A class action is a lawsuit where one or more persons sue not only for themselves, but also for other people who have similar claims. These similarly situated people are known as Settlement Class members. In a class action, one court resolves the issues for all class members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class. The Honorable Julie R. Rubin, United States District Judge, is presiding over the Litigation.

  • Based upon Class Counsel’s analysis and evaluation of the merits of the claims made against Defendant in the Litigation and the substantial risks associated with continued litigation, including the possibility that the Litigation, if not settled now, might not result in any recovery whatsoever, or might result in a recovery that is less favorable and that would not occur for several years, Plaintiff and Defendant entered into this proposed settlement. Class Counsel is satisfied that the terms and conditions of the Settlement Agreement are fair, reasonable, and adequate, and that the Settlement is in the best interest of Settlement Class members.

  • 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. These amounts include out-of-pocket payments and payments financed by student loans. Scholarships provided by Defendant do not count toward the amount considered paid, so someone who received little or no scholarship support would receive more under the Settlement Agreement than someone who received substantial scholarship support from Defendant.

  • This lawsuit was brought by Named Plaintiff Elena Botts, who took a lead role in the Litigation and assisted in its resolution. In addition to her proportional share as described in FAQ 4, Class Counsel will request that the Court award her an additional $12,500 to reflect the time and energy she expended on behalf of herself and Settlement Class members. The Court may choose to award a different amount.

  • You do not need to do anything to participate in the settlement. If you do not respond, we will mail you a check after the Court approves the Settlement.

    Additionally, the Litigation will be dismissed with prejudice and Settlement Class members who do not opt out will fully release and discharge Defendant. This means that you cannot sue, continue to sue, or be party of any other lawsuit against Defendant regarding the claims brought in this case. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. The specific claims you are giving up against Defendant are described in Section 4.3.1 of the Settlement Agreement, which can be found on the Important Documents page of the Settlement Website.

  • Settlement Class members who elect to opt out of the settlement as set forth in this Agreement must submit a written, signed statement that he or she is opting out of the settlement (a “Request for Exclusion”) and mail it to the Settlement Administrator as follows:

    Elena Botts v. Johns Hopkins University
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    P.O. Box 91379
    Seattle, WA 98111

    A Request for Exclusion must include (1) your name, mailing address, and telephone number; and (2) a statement substantially to the effect that: “I request to be excluded from the Settlement Class in the matter of Elena Botts v. Johns Hopkins University.” All Requests for Exclusion must be postmarked no later than March 18, 2023. If you exclude yourself from the Litigation, you will NOT be allowed to object to the Settlement as described in FAQ 12.

  • No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any rights to sue the Defendant for claims brought in this case or which could have been brought in this case. If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that case immediately to see if the Settlement will affect your other case. Remember, the exclusion deadline is March 18, 2023.

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

  • Yes. The Court appointed the following attorneys as “Class Counsel” to represent you and the other Settlement Class members:

    James A. Francis
    John Soumilas
    Jordan M. Sartell
    1600 Market St., STE 2510
    Philadelphia, PA 19103
    (215) 735-8600

    Kevin C. Mallon
    One Liberty Plaza, STE 2301
    New York, NY 10006
    (646) 759-3663

    Courtney Weiner
    1629 K Street NW, STE 300
    Washington, DC 20006
    (202) 827-9980


    You will not be charged for these lawyers. You will not be charged for calling, emailing, or speaking confidentially to Class Counsel. You are permitted to call Class Counsel with any questions and such communications will be confidential and protected. Class Counsel’s fees are being paid from the total settlement fund as part of the Settlement and are subject to the approval of the Court. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

  • Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve a payment of attorney’s fees and costs of no more than Two Million Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($2,200,000.00), which represents one-third (⅓) of the Settlement Fund. This payment is to compensate Class Counsel for the work they have performed in the Litigation including filing pleadings and briefs, investigating the facts, conducting discovery, attending court conferences, participating in settlement discussions, and negotiating and overseeing the settlement.

  • If you wish to present your objection to the Court, you must state your intention to do so in a written statement. Your statement should be as detailed as possible, otherwise the Court may not allow you to present reasons for your objection that you did not describe in your written objection. The statement must include: (1) the Settlement Class member’s full name, mailing address, and current telephone number; (2) if the individual is represented by counsel, the name and telephone number of counsel, if counsel intends to submit a request for fees and all factual and legal support for that request; (3) all objections and the basis for any such objections stated with specificity, including a statement as to whether the objection applies only to the objector, to a specific subset of the Class, or to the entire Class; (4) the identity of any witnesses the objector may call to testify; (5) a listing of all exhibits the objector intends to introduce into evidence at the Final Approval Hearing, as well as true and correct of copies of such exhibits; and (6) a statement of whether the objector intends to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, either with or without counsel. Your objection may not be heard unless it is submitted timely or postmarked by March 18, 2023, and mailed to the Settlement Administrator at:

    Elena Botts v. Johns Hopkins University
    c/o JND Legal Administration
    P.O. Box 91379
    Seattle, WA 98111

    The Settlement Administrator will share your objection with Class Counsel and Defendant’s counsel and file your objection statement with the Court, and may request an opportunity to speak with you before any conference or hearing with the Court. You may not object to the Settlement if you submit a letter requesting to exclude yourself or opt out of the Settlement.

  • Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself from the settlement (“opting out”) is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.

    If you send an objection, it is not necessary for you to come to Court to talk about it, but you may do so at your own expense or pay your own lawyer to attend. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. If you do attend the hearing, it is possible that you will not be permitted to speak unless you timely object in writing as described above and notify the Court of your intention to appear at the fairness hearing.

  • The Court has granted preliminary approval of the Settlement and anticipates making a final determination after Notices are sent. The Court will ultimately consider whether the terms of the settlement are fair, reasonable, and adequate – after reviewing submissions by the Parties, which are publicly available via Pacer.gov and will be posted on the Important Documents page of the Settlement Website.

    However, if you wish to raise a valid concern, you should alert the attorneys and they can appear at a Final Approval Hearing conference before the Court on April 17, 2023, at 10:00am, in Courtroom 3A of the United States Courthouse located at 101 West Lombard Street, Baltimore, Maryland, 21201 if your issue is not resolved to your satisfaction with the attorneys. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The Judge will decide whether to listen to any issues that are properly raised.

  • More details are in the Settlement Agreement, which can be found on the Important Documents page of the Settlement Website.

For More Information

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

Elena Botts v. Johns Hopkins University
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91379
Seattle, WA 98111