First Circuit Holds That College Does Not Owe Fiduciary Duties to Students, Rejects Data Privacy Class Action Claims
On March 25, 2020, the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Squeri v. Mount Ida College upheld the lower court’s dismissal of prospective and former Mount Ida College students’ claims against the college and its Board of Trustees arising from the college’s abrupt closure and sale of its campus to UMass Amherst in May 2018. No. 19-1624, 2020 WL 1445400 (1st Cir. Mar. 25, 2020). On appeal, the student plaintiffs urged the First Circuit to dramatically expand students’ ability to sue colleges under Massachusetts law, opening the door to new litigation risks for academic institutions. The First Circuit declined this invitation, noting that Massachusetts law does not allow for the broader theories of liability they sought to assert.
The students’ allegations against Mount Ida and the lower court’s dismissal of their claims
The students’ class action claims arose out of the college’s abrupt and permanent closure after six weeks’ notice to students that they would need to continue their studies