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Graduate student Jonathan Eilian and senior Alyssa Rokito, who claim they have spent months trying to reach Monk without success, said they spent the weekend gathering the names of other dissatisfied subscribers in order to file a lawsuit. "We've concluded that the only hope we have is to pool our claims and retain a top corporate attorney," Eilian said yesterday. He said one possible solution could involve a class-action lawsuit -- a suit in which a company or individual is sued by an individual on behalf of a group of people with similar complaints. Although Eilian said he hopes to resolve the situation before the case reaches court, the graduate student stressed he and Rokito would "pursue all legal channels available to us." "Hopefully, we won't need to waste time and money in court," Eilian said. "But we will pursue Monk until justice is served." He said that two are in the process of hiring a Chicago lawyer to coordinate a possible lawsuit. Last Friday, Eilian and Rokito hung up signs throughout campus asking students interested in getting refunds to call them. Since then, Eilian said the response has been "tremendous," even though many of the signs have disappeared. Eilian said 48 students have called him since last week to register their interest in obtaining refunds. He added that 100 names are needed before any legal proceedings would occur. "Everyone so far is enthusiastic, willing to give it a try," he said. "After all, we have nothing to lose and can't be any worse off than we are now." Eilian said he will leave a letter and response form for all students interested in joining the group in the Steinberg-Dietrich student mail folder area beginning this morning. Monk refused to discuss Penn News last night, choosing instead to submit a letter to The Daily Pennsylvanian. In the prepared statement, the Wharton junior said that "the students who have paid will be compensated for each paper that has not been delivered" since three newspaper companies suspended delivery of papers to Penn News last month. He failed to specify what type of compensation students can expect, however, and he did not address the possibility of refunds for newspapers not received during the previous semester. After writing that he did not "create this situation," Monk added, "I am doing everything I can to correct [the suspension of delivery], for the sake of those students who have paid up front and have every right to expect prompt delivery." Monk did not describe exactly what he is doing to correct the problem and The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times, and USA Today said last week that they will not resume delivery until they receive payment. According to officials from all three papers, Monk owes them over $24,000. According to Eilian, his goal is "a single lump sum payment in the form of a certified check" to all students that have not received refunds. He said that is the only way to avoid "the confusion of bounced checks, purposeless delays or any other games." In addition to leaving messages on Monk's answering machine, Eilian said he has complained to the University, the Better Business Bureau and Penn Student Agencies, which formerly operated Penn News. "We've tried for months to pursue every reasonable method of collection, and we've gotten nowhere," he said. "No one is helping us. We have no choice other than to organize and start helping ourselves." The purpose of a collective effort against Penn News, according to Eilian, is to ensure that Monk does not assume he can ignore individual complaints. "We believe that if Monk ever decides to pay his claim, it will be to his largest creditors: the newspapers who are owed over $24,000," the Wharton graduate student said. "These people have lawyers. No individual student has the time or resources to pursue a $100 claim." Eilian claimed he has "retained the advice of a top corporate lawyer in Chicago," but declined to provide the name of the attorney. According to Eilian, the lawyer reportedly agreed to take the case on a contingency basis, meaning the lawyer will be paid only if his clients win the case.

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