Tuition lawsuit with UM system continues

Friday, February 25, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:21 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

A 1998 lawsuit that could result in the refund of educational fees to some students in the UM system — and cost the university as much as $470 million — is in the discovery phase.

St. Louis County Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Romines ruled in favor of three former UM system students on a lawsuit more than two years ago.

Since then, the system has attempted to appeal the case to the Missouri Supreme Court. The case is now in the discovery phase at the circuit court level after the state Supreme Court decided not to hear the case yet.

The lawsuit claims the university acted unlawfully by charging educational fees under an 1872 statute that says the UM system would not charge tuition for its in-state undergraduate students.

Bob Herman, attorney for the plaintiffs, was not available for comment.

The lawsuit has been in the remedy phase and discovery process since October.

As part of the discovery process, thousands of records are being examined to see who could be eligible for refunds. UM spokesman Joe Moore said that students from Jan. 28, 1995, to Aug. 28, 2001, could be affected.

Moore said the discovery process could take as long as a year, but he did not know an exact date for its completion.

“This is going to be a long and arduous process,” he said.

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