Judge won’t make Trump University settlement objector post large bond

A woman objecting to the $25 million settlement of fraud claims over the Trump University real estate program will not be required to post a nearly $150,000 bond in order to pursue an appeal that could allow her to bail out of the deal.

U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel turned down a request from class-action lawyers that objector Sherri Simpson — a Florida bankruptcy lawyer who says she paid out $19,000 in 2010 for Trump University seminars and a mentorship — put up $146,888 to cover costs of communication with class members while the appeal goes forward.

Curiel said legal precedent doesn’t call for Simpson to pay those expenses.

“Plaintiffs have not cited an applicable fee-shifting statute to justify inclusion of settlement administration costs in Simpson’s appeal bond,” Curiel wrote in a 10-page order issued Tuesday. “In the absence of an applicable fee-shifting statute, including settlement administration expenses in Simpson’s appeal bond would not be authorized by law.”

The judge said Simpson would only be required to post $500 to cover direct court costs if her appeal fails, which Curiel predicted it would.

Lawyers for the class initially sought more than $220,000 but cut that request down after the 9th Circuit agreed to expedite the appeal. Final briefs on the appeal are now due by July 26.

Simpson has said she wants out of the settlement so she can attempt to take Trump to a civil trial over the alleged fraud — a trial akin to the one Trump thought he was avoiding by agreeing to the deal.

On Monday, Simpson’s side in the appeal scored supportive amicus briefs from about a dozen law professors who said class members in her situation should be permitted to opt out of a settlement and should be able to rely on language in court-approved notices suggesting that such an option would be available.

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