2022 in Review: 5 COVID lawsuits filed against universities

Below are five lawsuits filed against colleges and universities over COVID-era policies and restrictions: 

5. UPDATE: State Supreme Court to hear lawsuit regarding university fees during pandemic

The Florida Supreme Court announced it would hear arguments for a class action lawsuit involving the University of South Florida (USF), which charged student fees during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

USF student Valerie Marie Moore, the sole plaintiff in the class action complaint representing students at USF, argued that the university breached USF students’ contracts by forcing them to pay fees for on-campus services that they were unable to attend due to the pandemic. “USF has not provided USF students refunds of their fees, even though students were no longer able to use the services for which they paid,” the lawsuit reads. 

4. Former head coach files lawsuit after being fired for religious objections to COVID-19 vaccine

Former Washington State University football head coach Nick Rolovich filed a lawsuit on Nov. 11 against the university and the Director of Athletics, Patrick Chun, after he was fired for not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Rolovich is seeking damages due to loss of past and future income as well as legal fees totaling $25 million, according to the Seattle Times. The 32-page lawsuit details a long drawn out struggle between Rolovich and Chun after the head coach expressed his hesitance to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in 2020.

3. Parents, students are taking universities to court over COVID vaccine mandates

Mendenhall Law Group, a firm based out of Akron, Ohio, has filed a series of lawsuits taking aim against COVID-19 policies in effect at four universities across the state. 

The firm argues that policies regarding vaccination, masking, and testing at Ohio University, University of Cincinnati, Bowling Green State University, and Miami University of Ohio are in violation of state law. The lawsuits were filed on behalf of affected students, employees, and parents.  Warner Mendenhall, the firm’s principal, told Campus Reform that he is proud of those who have stepped up to tackle concerns over university COVID-19 policies.

2. Creighton University keeps its vaccine mandates amid an ongoing lawsuit

Students at Creighton University (CU), a Jesuit Catholic school in Nebraska, have been denied their requests for a preliminary injunction that would have prevented CU from implementing its COVID-19 vaccine mandate. 

The request for the injunction came in the middle of a lawsuit between the university and several of its students. Students involved in the lawsuit are suing for not being able to enroll in classes due to their unvaccinated status. The Nebraska Supreme Court justices claimed they were not persuaded by the students’ oral arguments for an injunction, citing that the court did not have jurisdiction to make a decision regarding the matter as a “final order” needs to come from the lower courts.

1. REPORT: University settles $1.65 million lawsuit over COVID-19 remote learning

Lindenwood University settled a $1.65 million lawsuit after a plaintiff claimed that the university breached its contract when it exclusively offered remote courses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

6,000 students who were enrolled in the spring 2020 semester are eligible to receive a portion of the settlement. Qualifying students will receive a $185 payment. The attorneys will collect $55,000. Student payments will be made as an account credit, Fox Business reports. Former students who do not have an outstanding balance will receive the money via check.