Your Guide to Suing a University in Small Claims Court
Universities and colleges have obligations towards their students either by law or by contract. If these obligations are violated, students (or applicants) have the right to file a complaint against the university. However, before suing a university in small claims court, the student would have to go through the university’s internal complaint process before taking legal action.
Grounds for Suing your College
The first step to suing a university in a small claims court is to know what grounds allow for such legal action. Because university obligations are not always clearly defined, it can be difficult to determine exactly when these obligations have been violated. The following incidents present legal grounds for suing a university:
- Breach of contract. If you pay fees in exchange for educational services, the university has a contractual obligation to provide such services. If these contractual obligations are violated, you have grounds to sue them and are entitled to compensation for damages.
- Unfair disciplinary proceedings. Universities have the right to implement disciplinary measures internally; however, these proceedings and measures should be reasonable and not cause significant damage to students’ education or future. If you believe you have been a victim of unfair disciplinary proceedings, you have legal grounds to sue them.
- Wrong degree classification/poor grading system. If you find that the degree or grading system of the University is biased or specifically unfair to you, you can take this grievance to small claims court.
- Discrimination against students. It’s against the law for schools to treat students unfairly because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. If you have been a victim of or witness discrimination, you have the right to sue the school.
- Negligence or irresponsibility. Universities are responsible for ensuring campus safety and implementing the necessary measures to ensure that students, staff, and visitors are safe. If a student incurs an injury on campus because the university failed to ensure their safety, the incident has justifiable grounds for a lawsuit.
The Standard Procedure for Suing your University
If you believe you have been a victim of any of these violations, be sure to file a complaint within the university system for a possible resolution. If there is no resolution or favorable decision made, you can take legal action against the university in small claims court. These are the steps to follow for this process:
- Ensure that your claim is eligible to pursue in small claims court. Generally, the financial compensation you demand should be between $5000 and $10000. You should refer to your state’s maximum financial compensation for the maximum amount you can sue for in small claims court.
- Prepare and send a demand letter to the relevant authority. Most small claims courts require that you give the accused a chance to resolve the grievance, which is why you should send a demand letter first. After sending the letter to the University, the institution might offer a settlement. If they don’t respond in your favor, you can proceed to the next step.
- Fill out and file your complaint form. Each state has specific forms to be filled for every claim. After the forms have been filled according to state regulations, submit them to the small claims court clerk.
- Serve your university. Here, you need to deliver a copy of the filed papers to the accused. Make sure you follow the correct service of process required by your local court.
- Show up on your court date. Appear in court on the decided court date with a copy of your forms and all the necessary evidence to back your case. Come organized and prepared because you cannot have an attorney representing you in small claims court.
What are the Pros and Cons of a Student Suit against their University?
The time and effort it takes to sue a university is demanding, which is why it’s important to carefully weigh out the pros and cons of the process:
|This might be the only way to get a resolution on the grievance.||The claim can be deemed frivolous and thrown out without getting processed.|
|You might get financial compensation for injuries or inconveniences.||The standard process would typically result in a huge amount of legal fees.|
|In the event of a win, you will feel victorious against unfair treatment.||Legal processes can be long-drawn, and emotionally and physically draining.|
|The result of the trial can provide a better educational environment for all students and staff.||You might get a bad reputation among the staff and administration, and may deal with fears of judgment.|
Take Your University to Small Claims Court with DoNotPay
If you’re looking to sue your university, DoNotPay can expedite the process for you. Not only can DoNotPay mail the demand letter, but also help you get the necessary forms to file in small claims court and give you a script to prepare on the day of the hearing. You can take legal action against your university with the help of DoNotPay in 4 easy steps:
- First, log-in to DoNotPay and select the Sue Now Product
- Then, Enter the dollar amount you are owed
- Next, select whether you want a demand letter or court filing forms
- Finally, Describe the reason for the lawsuit and submit any applicable details, including photo proof and a statement
That’s it! DoNotPay will handle all of the busy work for you and ensure your papers contain all of the information needed to win.
Who Else Can DoNotPay Sue?
Thousands of users have used the Sue Now product to fight for their rights and get the compensation they deserve. Here are some companies DoNotPay has helped sue over the years:
What Else Can DoNotPay Do?
Not only does DoNotPay help students sue their universities, but it also offers a wide range of accessible services and assists you with:
- Fighting workplace discrimination
- Filing insurance claims
- Notarizing documents
- Reducing property tax
- Making an appointment with the DMV