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Our Attorneys in the News

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March 8, 2024. Litigators of the Week: $284M and Counting From Elite Universities Accused of Price-Fixing.

Our Litigators of the Week are Bob Gilbert of Gilbert Litigators & Counselors, Ted Normand of Freedman Normand Friedland, and Eric Cramer of Berger Montague who have been pursuing price-fixing claims against 17 elite universities accused of conspiring to limit financial aid awards and inflating tuition.

 

"All of us will carry lifelong memories of hearing the gratitude of innumerable people who tell us their stories, and know our cause is just. We will always remember their heartfelt expressions of appreciation for our hard work that is righting past wrongs, and creating more opportunity for talented working-class and middle-class students to achieve their dreams." - Robert D. Gilbert.

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January 24, 2024. Nearly a half-dozen of the nation's top universities have agreed to pay a total of $104.5 million to resolve claims that they conspired to limit financial aid for admitted students, according to a Tuesday court filing. 

The settlements, which are pending a judge's approval, arrive two years after eight former students filed a class-action lawsuit against 17 elite schools, including most members of the Ivy League. The students claim the colleges and universities used a shared methodology to calculate financial need in a way that reduces institutional dollars to students from working- and middle-class families — describing it as a "price-fixing cartel.” The schools have denied the charges.

"It is past time for the presidents and governing bodies of the remaining defendants to stand up and do the right thing for their students and alumni, and resolve the overcharges to middle-class and working-class students." - Robert D. Gilbert.

January 24, 2024. Five universities agreed to settle a lawsuit accusing them of colluding on financial aid and admissions violations, according to new court filings.

Yale, Columbia, Duke, Brown and Emory universities will pay a combined $104.5 million to settle their portions of the case, which was brought by five former students against more than a dozen schools.

 

The suit alleges the universities violated antitrust law when they ignored their pledge to not weigh a student’s ability to pay tuition when considering whether or not to accept, a practice referred to as “need-blind” admission.

"Presidents and governing bodies must resolve the overhcharges to middle-class and working-class students that stemmed from the twenty of collusion on financial aid by elite universities." - Robert D. Gilbert.

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August 16, 2023. The University of Chicago agreed this week to pay $13.5 million to resolve claims it conspired with 16 other elite schools — including most members of the Ivy League — to limit financial aid for admitted students.

"This settlement ... underscores once again the strength of the plaintiff's case and further shines the spotlight on the defendents who have not yet stepped up to do the right thing for their students and alumni." - Robert D. Gilbert.

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August 15, 2023. Chicago settles aid-fixing lawsuit In first concession among 17 elite institutions accused of conspiring to limit student assistance, university also agrees to help cases against others.

"The case is delivering a critical pushback against wealthy and privileged universities failing to prioritise the needs of their lower-income students." - Robert D. Gilbert.

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August 14, 2023. University of Chicago To Pay $13.5M In Financial Aid Antitrust Deal.

 

Former students accusing top private universities of conspiring to limit financial aid asked an Illinois federal judge Monday to sign off on the $13.5 million deal they reached with the University of Chicago, the first institution to settle out of the proposed antitrust class action.

"Reducing student debt and providing substantially more funds for scholarships will be good for our country."

- Robert D. Gilbert.

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August 4, 2023. New updates arise in antitrust lawsuit accusing Dartmouth and other universities of conspiring to restrict financial aid.

Updates in the suit include Dartmouth’s lawyer’s admission that the College has considered donations when making admissions decisions, and that Dartmouth will no longer assert the “Exemption Defense.”

"Dartmouth's acknowledgement that it can no longer hide behind an inapplicable exemption from the antitrust laws is, of course, a significant development in the case." - Robert D. Gilbert.

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April 20, 2023. University of Chicago is first to settle in elite schools case.

Former students accusing top private universities of conspiring to limit financial aid scored an important milestone Wednesday with the announcement of an "agreement in principle" that would make the University of Chicago the first institution to settle out of the Illinois federal court proposed class action.

"We look forward to hammering out the details of the settlement with the University of Chicago and to presenting it to the court in the near future to begin the class settlement approval process." - Robert D. Gilbert.

OBSERVER

February 14, 2023. Elite universities called a price-fixing cartel, may face judgment in US Court.

"When this litigation forces them to compete and reduce the net price of attendance, those price reductions will predictably have a beneficial ripple effect throughout much of higher education." - Robert D. Gilbert.

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February 9, 2023. An Illinois federal judge has refused to spare a subset of top private universities accused of conspiring to limit financial aid from discovery into whether donations helped wealthy children get into "need-blind" schools, finding that liability for one school can be applied to them all.

"The plaintiffs are very pleased that the court denied the motion of six defendants for a protective order and will allow the plaintiffs to develop the evidence to prove our case." - Robert D. Gilbert.

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January 26, 2023. Let money talk, former students say in elite schools row.

 

Former students want to put the massive donations that helped wealthy children get into "need-blind" schools front and center in an antitrust case accusing top private universities of conspiring to limit financial aid, as they blasted a subset of institutions Wednesday for trying to hide those details.

"Certainly suggests a pervasive use of wealth favoritism." -Robert D. Gilbert.

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October 5, 2022. “Now defendants do not have any excuse for their collusion, which must end,” Robert D. Gilbert, a lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

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October 4, 2022. “For decades,” attorney Robert Gilbert said of the participating universities, “they exploited the exemption to favour wealthy applicants and families, and to disfavour applicants from middle-class and working-class families.”

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August 16, 2022. Elite Universities' Early Bid to Knock Out Financial Aid Antitrust Suit Falls Flat.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly in Chicago denied a bid by 17 elite private universities to knock out claims they colluded in ways that held down the amount of need-based aid going to undergraduates.

"My colleagues and I look forward to winning substantial restitution for 200,000 students they claim have been harmed by the schools' practices." - Robert D. Gilbert.

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August 15, 2022.  Judge Says Top Universities Must Face Financial Aid Suit.

 

Robert D. Gilbert, managing partner of Gilbert Litigators & Counselors and lead firm for the plaintiffs, agreed with Judge Kennelly's ruling and outlined the next steps in the case in comments to Law360. "We look forward to winning substantial restitution for the 200,000 students who have been harmed by the collusion of these 17 elite universities and to ending their unlawful practices."

Authority Magazine

June 16, 2022. Top Lawyers: Robert “Bob” Gilbert of Gilbert Litigators & Counselors On the 5 Things You Need to Become a Top Lawyer in Your Specific Field of Law.

 

"Honesty. Being honest — having a reputation for honesty as well as projecting honesty — are extremely important in the practice of litigation. At the end of the day, a judge and jury must believe you."

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April 20, 2022. Lawyers assess Yale's efforts to dismiss antitrust suit brought against it.

 

“It is common for defendants in antitrust cases to try to dismiss the case,” Robert D. Gilbert LAW ’82, one of the litigators for the plaintiffs, said. “We anticipated the defendants’ arguments, and are prepared to respond forcefully as the law is in the Plaintiffs’ favor. We look forward to the Court’s resolution of Defendants’ motions, and to moving this case forward.”

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February 15, 2022. Meet the plaintiffs team pursuing the price-fixing lawsuit against 16 elite universities.

Lawyers at Berger Montague, FeganScott, Gilbert Litigators & Counselors, and Roche Freedman accuse the universities of participating in a price-fixing cartel that artificially inflated what students who receive financial aid paid for undergraduate studies.

The selection of this particular slate of defense counsel "demonstrates that the defendants know they are facing serious allegations." - Robert D. Gilbert.

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January 10, 2022.  Court filings say Robert Gilbert of Gilbert Litigators & Counselors worked for more than a year to develop the case and assemble the proposed leadership team...

 

Meet the Plaintiffs Team Pursuing the Price-Fixing Lawsuit Against 16 Elite Universities.

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