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Full appellate court denies student's rehearing request in UF COVID shutdown case

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The case sought refunds of fees paid for transportation, health care and athletics services that were not provided. An online docket said the student's en banc request had been refused.

The full 1st District Court of Appeal on Tuesday refused to hear arguments in a potential class-action lawsuit contending that the University of Florida should return fees to students because of a campus shutdown early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attorneys for graduate student Anthony Rojas asked the full appeals court to hold what is known as “en banc” hearing after a divided three-judge panel ruled in November that an Alachua County circuit judge should have dismissed the lawsuit.

An online docket said Tuesday that the en banc request had been denied but did not provide more details.

The case sought refunds of fees paid for transportation, health care and athletics services that were not provided because of the shutdown.

Rojas alleged that UF breached a contract when it did not provide the services. But in the appellate panel’s 2-1 decision on Nov. 22, Judge Rachel Nordby wrote that “assorted documents attached to the complaint do not constitute an express written contract.”

Numerous similar lawsuits have been filed against colleges and universities in Florida and other parts of the country.

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