College campuses across the U.S. have been shuttered in recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting lawsuits from students and families demanding their money back.
A lawsuit of that nature was filed in Oklahoma County District Court on Friday by Christopher Knox, a parent of an OU student who, according to the lawsuit paid more than $4,000 for university services that were suspended toward the end of the spring semester.
John Thetford, a Tulsa attorney on the team of lawyers in the case, said they are looking to represent other students and families in similar situations as part of a class-action lawsuit.
“We've been contacted by literally hundreds of others to be part of this lawsuit,” he said.
Thetford and two Chicago-based attorneys prepared the petition against the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, which states more than 200,000 people enrolled at several different schools across the state could potentially be included in the case.
“(Students have) lost their summer jobs, they’ve lost their summer internships. Some of them have essentially been evicted from their school housing. They’re living off of borrowed money and student loans,” Thetford said.
The lawsuit does not ask for tuition costs to be reimbursed by the universities because, Thetford said, the schools finished out the semester.
“We do appreciate the effort in that regard,” he said. “By no means do we want to penalize the universities, we just simply want them to reimburse these students.”
A copy of the lawsuit petition is available here.
According to the National Law Review, more than 100 lawsuits demanding universities return tuition payments have been filed across the country.
In a statement, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education said it does not comment on pending litigation.
A hearing has yet to be scheduled in the case.