Two students have dropped out of a federal lawsuit filed over the college admissions cheating scandal but two others are continuing their claims in a new lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose on Friday.
Like the previous lawsuit, the new complaint by students Tyler Bendis of Orange County, Nicholas Johnson of New Jersey and two of their parents was filed against admissions consultant William "Rick" Singer and eight universities implicated in the case.
The universities are not facing any criminal charges, but the lawsuit levies civil claims accusing them of deceptive trade practices, unfair business practices and negligence in failing to prevent bribery and fraud by wealthy parents, athletic coaches and Singer.
Singer, the admitted mastermind of the scheme, is hit with a claim of civil racketeering. He pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston last week to charges of criminal racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
The universities sued are Stanford, the University of Southern California, Yale, Georgetown, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of San Diego, the University of Texas at Austin and Wake Forest.
The students claim they were promised a fair admissions process when they paid application fees of $50 to $100, but were denied that when unqualified children of wealthy parents participating in the scheme were admitted through fraudulent academic testing and athletic recruiting.
"Each of the universities took the students' admission application fees while failing to take adequate steps to ensure that their admissions process was fair and free of fraud, bribery, cheating and dishonesty," the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit seeks to be certified as a class action on behalf of the estimated thousands of students rejected by the eight universities between 2012 and 2018.
The lawsuit was originally filed by Stanford students Kalea Woods and Erica Olsen on March 13, the day after the criminal charges were announced. Olsen dropped out but Bendis, Johnson and a third student joined Woods in an amended version of the lawsuit on March 14.
That lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed by all the students on Friday, but replaced by the new case with Bendis, Johnson, Bendis's mother and Johnson's father continuing as plaintiffs.
Bendis and Johnson both say they had high grades and SAT scores and were school athletes. Bendis, now studying at a community college in Orange County, was turned down by Stanford, UCLA and the University of San Diego. Johnson, now at Rutgers University, was rejected by Stanford, Yale and the University of Texas at Austin.
In a separate lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court on March 13, former Oakland teacher Jennifer Toy and her son, Joshua Toy, sued 32 parents named in a criminal fraud complaint in federal court in Boston; Singer; and nine coaches and test administrators named in a racketeering indictment.
The Toys' lawsuit, which does not name any universities, includes civil claims of negligent infliction of emotional distress, conspiracy and fraud.
It asks to be certified as a class action and seeks a $500 billion award for what it estimates were one million people denied a fair chance at college admissions because of the actions of the parents, coaches, test administrators and Singer.
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