September 22, 2023
PLEASE READ THIS NOTICE CAREFULLY. If you were a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (“RPI”) student enrolled at the RPI campus in Troy, New York in any RPI course as of March 10, 2020 during the Spring 2020 semester and/or during the Summer Arch 2020 semester, and you were not a Non-Matriculated/Non-Paying Student (defined below), you may be eligible to receive a payment as part of a proposed settlement of Morgan Ford, Ethan Deecher, and Grady Habicht, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Case No. 1:20-cv-00470-DNH-CFH (the “Action”).
In this Action, Plaintiffs alleged they are entitled to certain damages from RPI representing tuition and fees paid during the Spring 2020 semester and Summer Arch 2020 semester when RPI provided classes remotely and closed its campus in Troy, New York, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, Plaintiffs allege that RPI failed to provide educational services, housing, dining and access to on-campus facilities and activities when it transitioned to remote learning. Plaintiffs sought on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated damages representing a portion of their tuition and fees for the Spring 2020 semester and Summer Arch 2020 semester. RPI denies all allegations of liability on any basis and has denied and continues to deny that it committed, or threatened or attempted to commit, any wrongful act or violation of law or duty alleged in the Action, and there has been no finding of liability in any court. Considering the interest of both RPI and its students in prompt resolution of the matter, RPI and Plaintiffs have agreed that, to resolve this Action, RPI will pay $6,500,000 into a Settlement Fund to be divided evenly among Settlement Class Members who do not opt out.
Am I a Class Member?
If you were a RPI student enrolled at the RPI Campus in Troy, New York, in any RPI course as of March 10, 2020 during the Spring 2020 semester and/or Summer Arch 2020 semester, and you were not a Non-Matriculated/Non-Paying Student (defined as a student enrolled in a high school, community college, or other college who took one or more courses at RPI during the Spring 2020 semester through a cooperative program, but was not enrolled in an RPI degree program and paid no tuition or fees to RPI for such participation at that time) and you do not opt out (as described below), then you are part of the proposed settlement class (a “Settlement Class Member”). If you are a Settlement Class Member, you do not have to do anything to participate in and receive the benefits of the proposed Settlement.
How Do I Get a Payment from the Cash Settlement Fund?
If you are a Settlement Class Member, and you are enrolled as a student at RPI, RPI will credit your student account in the amount of your payment. Although the final amount of the Settlement Benefit will depend on determinations to be made by the Court, Class Counsel estimates that Settlement Class Members will receive a Settlement Benefit of approximately $500. If you are a Settlement Class Member that is no longer enrolled as a student at RPI, your payment will be sent automatically by first class U.S. Mail to your last known mailing address on file with the University Registrar. Settlement Class Members that are no longer enrolled at RPI may visit the Settlement Website at RPIcovidrefundsettlement.com to (a) provide an updated address for sending a check; or (b) elect to receive the Settlement Benefit by Venmo or PayPal instead of a paper check. These actions must be taken no later than sixty (60) days after the Effective Date, as defined in the proposed Settlement. That date will also be posted on the Settlement Website when it is known, but it will be some time after the Final Approval Hearing not yet scheduled. Funds for Uncashed Settlement Checks shall be donated, as a cy pres award, to (a) the Student Relief Gift Fund and (b) the Graduate Student Relief Gift Fund.
By participating in the proposed Settlement, you release your right to bring any claim covered by the proposed Settlement, including bringing any claim related to RPI’s transition to remote learning and closure of on-campus services in the Spring 2020 semester and/or Summer Arch 2020 semester, or joining any other action against RPI related to RPI’s transition to remote learning in the Spring 2020 semester and/or Summer Arch 2020.
What Are My Other Options?
If you do not want to participate in this proposed Settlement— meaning you do not want to receive the Settlement Benefit, and you do not want to be bound by any judgment entered in this case—you may exclude yourself by mailing a signed opt-out request to the Settlement Administrator, which must be postmarked no later than November 22, 2023. If you instead want to object to this proposed Settlement because you think it is not fair, adequate, or reasonable, you may submit an objection, which also must be postmarked no later than November 22, 2023. Please follow the detailed instructions outlined in the Long Form Notice and the Settlement Agreement, which can both be found at RPIcovidrefundsettlement.com, to properly opt-out from, or object to, the proposed Settlement.
What Happens Next?
The Court has preliminarily approved the proposed Settlement, but the distribution of payments will occur only if the Court grants final approval of the proposed Settlement. The Final Approval Hearing in this case has not yet been scheduled. At that hearing, the Court will consider whether to grant final approval of the proposed Settlement, and whether to approve payment from the Settlement Fund of: (1) an award to the Settlement Class Representatives for their service in this litigation; and (2) Class Counsel’s requested attorney’s fees, which will not exceed $2,166,666.66 and will be posted on the Settlement Website.
You are encouraged to review the Long Form Notice.
To review the Long Form Notice, review other important documents, including the Settlement Agreement, and obtain more information about the proposed Settlement, please visit RPIcovidrefundsettlement.com.
If you have any questions, you can contact Class Counsel: Paul Doolittle at Poulin | Willey| Anastopoulo, LLC, (803) 222-2222 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also contact the Settlement Administrator, Simpluris, Inc., by calling toll- free [(888) 369-3780] or by emailing CaseSupport@Simpluris.com.