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Three plaintiffs drop from admissions lawsuit

Case refiled after original suit is voluntarily dismissed by plaintiffs

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Three plaintiffs — including the only remaining Stanford student — have dropped out of the class action lawsuit accusing Stanford and seven other universities of fraudulent admissions processes, a new filing of the case reveals.

The case was voluntarily dismissed and refiled under a new case number Friday evening. The plaintiffs listed in the new case are Tyler Bendis, a student at a community college in Orange County, California, and his mother Julia Bendis; Nicholas James Johnson, a student at Rutgers, and his father James Johnson. All plaintiffs in the refiled suit were plaintiffs in the amended complaint of the initial case filed Thursday.

“We are not backing down,” Julia wrote in an email to The Daily. “We are doing this for all students that don’t have a voice.”

Plaintiffs Kalea Woods ’20, Keri Fidelak and her daughter, Lauren Fidelak, now join Erica Olsen ’21, who dropped out of the case in the first amended complaint on Thursday morning.

In Julia’s email, she wrote that “some of the students were getting bombarded by the press and couldn’t take the pressure, so they wanted out.”

However, Keri told The Daily on behalf of her and her daughter on Friday that they would drop out of the suit because they did not grant written permission for their names and information to be used in the case. Keri described her and Lauren’s inclusion in the lawsuit as “a huge invasion of privacy.”

Lauren was unaware of her inclusion as a plaintiff in the case until she read The Daily’s report, Keri said, adding she was notified by her daughter after the article’s publication. Keri noted that she had a phone conversation with lawyer John Medler in which she agreed to receive mailed documentation on the case but did not agree to be included in the case.

Rodney Rabalais, the Louisiana-based lawyer now representing the Fidelaks, declined to comment on the matter.

Woods and Olsen did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

University spokesperson E.J. Miranda wrote in a statement on Thursday that the suit is “without merit” and that Stanford “stands by the integrity of [its] admissions process.”

The lawsuit seeks reimbursement for student application fees paid by students who were ultimately rejected by an admissions process that the lawsuit deems to be fraudulent and unfair, according to the filing.

“Had Plaintiffs known that the system was warped and rigged by fraud, they would not have spent the money to apply to the school,” the amended complaint reads, arguing the plaintiffs “did not receive what they paid for—a fair admissions consideration process.”

The suit also includes in its class all students who between 2012 and 2018 were rejected from at least one of the eight universities in question after paying application fees.

“Given the number of applications on a daily basis,” the amended complaint reasons, “it stands to reason that the number of Class Members is at least in the thousands.”

Case attorney John Medler declined to comment.

Contact Holden Foreman at hs4man21 ‘at’, Julia Ingram at jmingram ‘at’ and Erin Woo at erinkwoo ‘at’

Holden Foreman '21 is the Vol. 257 president and editor-in-chief. He was the Vol. 256 executive editor (vice president). He was managing editor of news in Vol. 254 and student business director in Vol. 255. He hails from the city of St. Louis, Missouri and is studying computer science. Contact him at hs4man21 'at'
Julia Ingram ’21 was The Daily's Volume 256 editor-in-chief. She is a New York City native majoring in English literature and working toward a career in news reporting. Contact her at jmingram ‘at’
Erin Woo '21 is a Managing Editor of News. A communications major and creative writing minor, she plans to pursue a career in journalism. She has also reported for The Mercury News and WNYC. Contact her at erinkwoo 'at'