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Law Schools & Academics

IN BRIEF: Law student sues Harvard over tuition costs of remote courses

Caroline Spiezio  

Caroline Spiezio  

(Reuters) - A Harvard Law School student has brought a proposed class action against the university over its decision to move in-person law courses online because of the coronavirus pandemic without reducing tuition.

Plaintiff Abraham Barkhordar, a rising second-year law student, asked a federal court in Boston to order Harvard to partially reimburse him for the tuition and fees he paid in the spring of 2020, in a complaint filed Monday.

The lawsuit alleges breach of contract, unjust enrichment and conversion, arguing that Harvard Law’s online classes were less rigorous and of a lower quality than the in-person classes for which he agreed to pay a $65,875 annual tuition.

Barkhordar, who is represented by lawyers from Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro and Burns Charest, also seeks reimbursement from Harvard for any future semesters in which he has to pay full tuition without access to in-person classes. Earlier this month, Harvard Law had told students that courses in the fall would be online only, without lowering tuition.

Harvard University spokesman Jonathan Swain on Tuesday said the school does not comment on pending litigation.

In March, the coronavirus led universities across the United States, including Harvard, to close their campuses in an effort to slow its spread. Since then, several top-ranked schools with high price tags, including Columbia University, Brown University and now Harvard, have been sued by students seeking refunds.

Barkhordar in his complaint said Harvard has “significantly financially damaged” him and other students who “have lost — and will continue to lose — the benefit of the education and services they were promised without a corresponding reduction in tuition and fees.”

The case is: Abraham Barkhordar v. Harvard University, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, No. 1:20-cv-11203.

For Abraham Barkhordar: Kristie LaSalle, Steve Berman, Daniel Kurowski and Whitney Siehl of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro; and Warren Burns, LeElle Slifer and Russell Herman of Burns Charest.

For Harvard University: Not immediately available.

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