Trials & Litigation

Is federal judge really a 'hater of Donald Trump'? His rulings in Trump U case are mixed

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Donald Trump

Photo of Donald Trump from Joseph Sohm /

Donald Trump has criticized the federal judge overseeing two suits against Trump University as “very hostile” and “a hater of Donald Trump.” But the judge’s rulings in the case have been a mixed bag.

Though U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled against Trump on some issues, “there’s nothing unusual or suspicious about his rulings so far,” the Atlantic reports. He has also “granted Trump some partial victories along the way on the size and the scope of the cases,” the publication says.

The suits by dissatisfied students claim the Trump University real-estate investment course touted expert advice by Trump’s hand-selected professionals, but in reality offered nothing more than costly, generic advice.

Trump’s most specific grievance is that Curiel refused to grant his motion for summary judgment. Curiel denied the motion in one of the cases, which alleges violation of consumer and elder-abuse laws in three states. Filed in 2010 under the name Markaeff v. Trump University, it is now captioned Low v. Trump University.

Trump’s motion for summary judgment is pending in the second case, Cohen v. Trump, which was filed in 2013. It alleges Trump University is a criminal enterprise that amounts to a civil RICO violation. (A third suit has been filed by New York’s attorney general.)

The National Law Journal (sub. req.) lists specific rulings in the cases.

The National Law Journal points out that Trump did win one motion for summary judgment that sought to bar the plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief, which would have prevented Trump University from reopening.

But Trump lost when Curiel granted class certification in both cases. And Trump lost when Curiel unsealed documents based on a magistrate’s finding that nothing appeared to be “unique, proprietary, or revolutionary” about the materials.

Curiel sided with Trump, on the other hand, when he reduced the class size in the consumer case and allowed Trump to oppose full refunds in a decertified damages phase, according to the National Law Journal. In another victory for Trump, Curiel agreed to delay the consumer trial until after the election.

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