Managing Director Hal Singer’s testimony won the certification of a class of university students seeking refunds related to COVID-19 at Pepperdine University. Plaintiffs alleged that the value of online-education they received during the COVID-19 lockdowns in Spring 2020 was less than the on-campus education they had contracted for.
Dr. Singer designed and conducted a Choice-Based Conjoint (“CBC”) survey to determine the fair market value of the “On-Campus” experience students bargained for, and the “Online” experience that they actually received. Having calculated the difference in student’s willingness to pay, for each experience, Dr. Singer considered supply-side factors—what the university might have done in response to a demand decrease.
The court found that Dr. Singer’s CBC survey and damages methodology were admissible and that Dr. Singer had appropriately considered supply-side factors in his analysis of the fair market value of an Online Experience. This marks the third time that a court has certified a class in reliance of Dr. Singer’s CBC surveys. Dr. Singer’s CBC work previously led to the class certification in In Re: Macbook Keyboard Litigation and In Re Juul Labs, Inc., Marketing Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation.
The September 2023 class certification decision for In re Pepperdine University Tuition and Fees COVID-19 Refund Litigation can be found here. Dr. Singer’s team was led by Econ One Economist Augustus Urschel.