Montgomery County Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick has certified a class in a lawsuit involving Alabama’s Prepaid Affordable College Tuition plan. This means all 42,000 participants remaining in the plan will be affected by the outcome of the lawsuit. The suit seeks to make sure tuition is paid under the financially-precarious program. Judge Hardwick ruled the suit will become class-action litigation covering all participants because they face similar legal issues with the plan. All PACT participants will now be able to get a court resolution defining their rights and the obligations of the state. The PACT board is a Defendant in the case.
The parents sued the program last year before the Legislature allocated $548 million to the struggling program. Judge Hardwick denied a motion to dismiss the suit. The judge has also agreed to consider a counterclaim filed by the PACT board. Among other things, that counterclaim wants the judge to rule on what happens if money runs short, including whether the board can dissolve the program and how it should distribute the remaining funds. The judge divided the 42,000 participants into two groups based on whether they joined the PACT plan before or after the Legislature revised the PACT law in May 2001. That’s when the Legislature took out part of the PACT law that said the parents’ payment allowed their child to go to college “without further tuition costs or mandatory fees.” It will be interesting to see how this lawsuit turns out.
Source: Associated Press
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