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Makaeff v. Trump Univ., LLC

United States District Court for the Southern District of California

September 18, 2015, Decided; September 18, 2015, Filed

Case No. 10cv0940 GPC (WVG)

Opinion

 [*633]  ORDER:

GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO DECERTIFY CLASSES;

[ECF No. 380]

GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' UNOPPOSED EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR CLARIFICATION OF THE COURT'S CLASS CERTIFICATION ORDER

[ECF No. 410]

On February 19, 2015, Defendants Trump University LLC and Donald J. Trump filed a Motion for Decertification of Class Action. (ECF No. 380.) On May 15, 2015, Plaintiffs  [*634]  filed an Unopposed Ex Parte Application for Clarification of the Court's Class Certification Order. (ECF No. 410). The Motion for Decertification has been fully briefed. (ECF Nos. 405 & 409.) Defendant's motion challenges the Plaintiffs' full-recovery model for damages [**3]  under Comcast v. Behrend,     U.S.    , 133 S. Ct. 1426, 185 L. Ed. 2d 515 (2013). Defendants assert that a full-recovery model is unworkable, unjust and requires decertification. Following careful consideration of the parties' oral arguments, legal briefings and applicable law, and for the reasons set forth below, the Court hereby DENIES the motion for decertification of the class action on the issue of liability; GRANTS the motion for decertification of the class action on the issue of damages; and GRANTS the application for clarification of the Court's class certification order.

BACKGROUND

The relevant facts in this case having been included in several prior orders, the Court will not reiterate them in depth here. In short, this is a class action lawsuit on behalf individuals who purchased Trump University, LLC ("TU") real estate investing seminars, including the three-day fulfillment seminar and the Trump Elite programs. (See ECF No. 298, at 4.) Plaintiffs allege in their Third Amended Complaint that Defendants made material misrepresentations in advertisements, mailings, promotions, and free previews to lead prospective customers to purchase Defendants' fulfillment and elite programs. (See ECF No. 128.) The named Plaintiffs paid anywhere from $1,495 for [**4]  a three-day fulfillment seminar up to $35,000 for the "Trump Gold Elite Program." (Id. ¶ 39.) Plaintiffs allege TU and Donald Trump made the following core misrepresentations: (1) Trump University was an accredited university; (2) students would be taught by real estate experts, professors and mentors hand-selected by Mr. Trump; and (3) students would receive one year of expert support and mentoring. (See ECF No. 298, at 4.)

On February 21, 2014, this Court certified the following class and subclasses:

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309 F.R.D. 631 *; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128265 **; 92 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 1131

TARLA MAKAEFF, on Behalf of Herself and All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs, v. TRUMP UNIVERSITY, LLC, (aka Trump Entrepreneur Initiative) a New York Limited Liability Company, DONALD J. TRUMP, and DOES 1 through 50, inclusive, Defendants.

Subsequent History: Summary judgment granted, in part, summary judgment denied, in part by Makaeff v. Trump Univ., LLC, 145 F. Supp. 3d 962, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156160 (S.D. Cal., 2015)

Prior History: Makaeff v. Trump Univ., LLC, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46749 (S.D. Cal., Apr. 9, 2015)

CORE TERMS

damages, Plaintiffs', cases, full-refund, decertify, subclass, consumers, class certification, Fulfillment, Elite, court finds, advertised, Defendants', purchasers, deceptive, Seminars, full-recovery, benefits, applicable statute of limitation, restitution, worthless, notice, full refund, restitutionary, calculating, measurement, products, class member, misrepresentations, decertification

Civil Procedure, Class Actions, Certification of Classes, Decertification, Special Proceedings, Judicial Discretion, Certification of Classes, Judgments, Relief From Judgments, Excusable Mistakes & Neglect, Remedies, Damages, Antitrust & Trade Law, Consumer Protection, False Advertising, State Regulation, Contracts Law, Restitution, Damages, Compensatory Damages, Deceptive & Unfair Trade Practices, Constitutional Law, Fundamental Rights, Procedural Due Process, Scope of Protection, Trials, Separate Trials