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USF COVID campus shutdown case heads to state Supreme Court

A lawsuit says USF improperly kept fees for services not provided when the campus shut down in 2020.
A lawsuit alleges that USF improperly kept fees for services that were not provided when the campus shut down in 2020 because of the pandemic.
A lawsuit alleges that USF improperly kept fees for services that were not provided when the campus shut down in 2020 because of the pandemic. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Oct. 20, 2022

The University of South Florida is going to the state Supreme Court in a dispute over fees collected from students for on-campus services that were not provided because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The university filed a notice this week that is a first step in asking the Supreme Court to take up the case, according to an online docket at the 2nd District Court of Appeal.

Related: USF students didn't get what they paid for, lawsuit says

The potential class action lawsuit alleges that the university breached a contract with student ValerieMarie Moore and improperly kept fees for services that were not provided when the campus shut down in 2020 because of the pandemic.

A panel of the appeals court in June upheld a Hillsborough County circuit judge’s denial of a motion by the university to dismiss the case. The appeals court issued a revised opinion Sept. 30 that again rejected dismissal.

The appeals court docket indicates the university filed a notice Wednesday of taking the case to the Supreme Court.

Similar cases have been filed involving colleges and universities in Florida and across the country, with courts taking differing stances on whether schools breached contracts when they required students to learn remotely to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As an example, Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal rejected a potential class-action lawsuit against Miami Dade College over fees collected from students. Meanwhile, an Alachua County circuit judge refused to dismiss a potential class action lawsuit against the University of Florida. That case is pending at the 1st District Court of Appeal.

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