San Diego

Trump University Class-Action Lawsuits Making Their Way Through Federal Court in San Diego

 While the Donald Trump candidacy is on many voter’s minds across the country, two lawsuits filed against the presidential candidate have been quietly working their way through federal court in San Diego.

Two class-action lawsuits filed against Trump University allege that 5,000 students, many of whom are in San Diego, paid course fees up to $35,000 to attend the university. However, court filings reveal the courses failed to deliver and the university operated as an unlicensed educational institution.

A court order signed by the judge in the cases say “all depositions, including that of the Defendant, must be completed by December 18th, 2015.”

Court sources tell NBC7 Trump was deposed in the case in New York City last week.

The suits are alleging “Trump University lures consumers in with a free introductory seminar, which turns out to be nothing more than an infomercial to ‘up-sell’ and persuade students” to buy a $1,495 apprenticeship course.

If the students buy in, then the non-accredited University, using “misleading, fraudulent and predatory practices” tries to convince students to purchase Trump U’s Gold course for $35,000.

Trump is named as a defendant because his is owner, founder and chairman of Trump University.

Magistrate Judge William Gallo of the Southern District Court of San Diego will determine whether the depositions are confidential, sealed or open to the public, though a date has not yet been set. A legal expert told NBC7 that even if the judge rules the depositions are public, it may be some time before any of the depositions become public.

It is expected that members of the media will argue the depositions should be public, especially given Trump’s candidacy for president.

In Tarla Makaeff v. Trump University, a final pretrial conference is set for April 8, though it could occur before. In the other case, Art Cohen v. Donald J. Trump, a mandatory settlement conference is set for Jan. 27 with Gallo sitting as judge. That lawsuit was filed five years ago.

Eric Schneiderman, Attorney General for New York, who is also suing Trump and Trump University, has said more than 5,000 people across the country were deceived by the university’s promises. That number includes an unknown number of San Diegans who entered Trump University after seeing featuring Trump, claiming his program would provide them “amazing instructors AND priceless information…all for FREE.”

The ads, which ran in places like the Los Angeles Times, encouraged consumers to “learn from the Master – Donald Trump.” The sales pitch claimed Trump created the university because he could only work with one person a year on “The Apprentice,” a show he hosted prior to his run for the presidency.

The Makaeff case is certified as a class action lawsuit in California, New York and Florida. The Cohen lawsuit asserts claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and has been certified as a class action.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs and for Trump did not respond to NBC 7’s request for comment.

Editor's Note: NBCUniversal is the parent company for NBC 7 and "The Apprentice"

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