TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) - The University of Florida has gone to an appeals court after an Alachua County circuit judge refused to dismiss a potential class-action lawsuit that contends the school should refund fees to students who were forced to learn remotely in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Attorneys for the university's Board of Trustees filed a notice Monday of taking the case to the 1st District Court of Appeal.
As is common, the notice does not provide detailed arguments, but it indicated the university will argue it should be shielded from the lawsuit by "sovereign immunity," which helps protect government agencies in legal disputes.
The named plaintiff in the case, Anthony Rojas, was a UF graduate student in the spring and summer of 2020 who paid tuition and fees.
The lawsuit, filed in April, seeks pro-rated refunds of such things as activity fees, transportation fees, and athletics fees.
It does not seek tuition refunds.
If the case is ultimately certified as a class action, it could affect tens of thousands of students who could not take in-person classes or participate in campus activities as UF tried to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Circuit Judge Monica Brasington issued a nine-page ruling last month that cleared the way for the university to face a breach-of-contract claim in the case, which is one of the numerous similar lawsuits filed against universities and colleges across the state.
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