San Diego Court Case Gets National Attention During GOP Debate

Rubio attacks Trump over university lawsuits in recent GOP debate

“You lied about the students at Trump University,” Marco Rubio said in one of a series of heated exchanges between GOP front-runner Donald Trump and the Florida senator.

It was the first time the federal civil lawsuits involving the candidate’s namesake have been highlighted in the Republican presidential debates.

The two class action lawsuits are scheduled to be heard in San Diego courtrooms later this spring or early summer. The allegations outlined in court documents are that Trump University, which took in over $40 million, was fraudulent and deceptive.

Trump’s attorney Alan Garten told CNN many Trump U students were satisfied with the courses and any lack of success can’t be blamed on the school. The attorney told the “a lot of people did very well.”

In the GOP debate Thursday, Rubio called the school a “fake university” and said “there are people who borrowed $36,000 to go to Trump University and they are suing him now.”

Trump countered by saying “I have won most of the lawsuits, they (Trump University) actually did a very good job.” Trump then repeated that he has won most of the lawsuits.

“I could settle it right now for very little money but I don’t want to do it out of principle,” he said.

NBC 7 fact-checked this claim checking federal court records associated with the long running lawsuits. The first was filed in 2010.

According to court records:

  • A team of Trump attorneys filed a motion to dismiss both of the class action lawsuits but lost.
  • A motion filed to dismiss Donald Trump from the case was rejected by the court.
  • The Trump legal team fought but lost their effort to fight the certification of the class action lawsuits, which let the class action lawsuit begin. The attorneys then asked the court to reconsider the earlier decision and decertify the lawsuit but the court turned them down. Trump’s attorneys attempted to appeal this decision to the 9th Circuit in California but the court denied their request for permission to appeal.
  • Trump’s attorneys did win one court battle: they asked and the court agreed that the liability for each student’s case could be determined separately.
  • The Trump team filed a defamation claim against a Trump University attendee, Tarla Makaeff, who represented all the former Trump clients in one case. The claim was dismissed.
  • Trump’s been ordered to pay attorney fees and costs of almost $800,000.
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