Students suing over housing conditions reach settlement

The plaintiffs alleged that the house suffered from leaks, rodents, mold and a collapsed ceiling

· January 28, 2013, 10:37 pm

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The six plaintiffs suing the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Inc. over housing conditions have reached a settlement with the University.

The settlement is confidential, said Vice President for University Communications Stephen MacCarthy in an email. He declined to comment further.

On Dec. 7, the plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in Philadelphia Municipal Court against the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Inc. due to “utterly reprehensible [housing] conditions” they experienced during the 2011-2012 academic year. Their house was managed by Campus Apartments, owned by the University, and its landlord was University City Associates.

Two of the plaintiffs — College junior Zachary Opperman and College junior Andrew Green — filed a declaration of withdrawal with the Philadelphia Municipal Court on behalf of themselves and the four other plaintiffs on Monday morning.

President Judge Marsha H. Neifield of the Philadelphia Municipal Court granted the motion “withdrawn without prejudice” — meaning that the plaintiffs’ case had been removed from the court’s docket but that they were free to bring the same claim against the defendant in the future — the same day.

Practice Professor of Law and Clinical Director at the Law School Louis Rulli said that the motion for withdrawal was likely filed in anticipation of an out-of-court settlement that the parties prefer to keep confidential by not placing it on the public record.

College junior Doron Roberts-Kedes, a plaintiff in the case, declined to comment due to the fact that he signed a nondisclosure agreement. Opperman also declined to comment. The other plaintiffs could not be reached for comment.

Campus Apartments and University City Associates could not be reached for comment.

The plaintiffs alleged that their house suffered from various problems, including leaks, rodents, mold and the collapse of their third floor bathroom ceiling, in a statement they submitted to the court.

Their lawsuit was for $39,645 in damages against the defendant — $35,240 because of rent paid during “poor living conditions” and $4,405 due to an unreturned security deposit.

This article has been updated to reflect that Zachary Opperman and Andrew Green are both College juniors.

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