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Can I sue my college for relocating me to another dorm room without a warning?

Atlanta, GA |

My school is trying to remove from my current dorm room another location because I had a few issues with roommate. My roommate and I have never fought and have only argued like once or twice. The issues that we have brought to the advisers have all been resolved. Every single one and my resident director wants to remove me without a warning at all and we only have a few weeks of school left. Can I sue for a refund for my room & board fees and emotional distress?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Anyone can sue for anything. The question is whether you have suffered a harm for which the school may be liable, and the answer generally is probably not. Start by looking at your residential agreement with the school and student conduct and housing policies. The school very likely retains the authority to move students within housing based on the school's reasonable judgment. You are probably not guaranteed a specific room, only housing. Thus, there would be no grounds for you to recover a refund for room and board so long as the school continues to provide you with such.

    Emotional distress? Nothing I've read hear suggests that the school is behaving outrageously or negligently or that you are suffering a cognizable harm. Emotional distress usually will not arise out of contract disputes.

    You should discuss with a Georgia lawyer to know for certain.

    Disclaimer: Please understand that I am not offering legal advice, nor forming an attorney-client relationship with you. I am not representing you, nor doing anything to protect your legal rights. If you believe that you have suffered a legal wrong, take action before any statute or limitations expires, or your right to do so may be lost forever.


  2. As noted before to your duplicate post, it is almost inevitable that your roommate has asked the school to cause this change. You do not have any legally cognizable right to a specific room or a specific roommate -- especially where the roommate is unwilling. You have no damages at stake.

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  3. I agree with both of my colleagues from Pasadena. You really don't seem to have a problem that would give rise to a legal claim that you could sue on. And, frankly, some of what you have written is self-contradictory. "remove me without a warning"? If there were no warning, how would you know it's contemplated action? Also, if there's only a few weeks left to the school year, then it seems wherever you might get placed is only going to impact you for a few short weeks. (On the other hand, is also seems to make the relocation less necessary.)
    Since you are a young college student and, by this post, you have at least some interest in the legal process, I encourage you to study it more. Find out what the law tends to compensate for, what it doesn't, and the policy reasons behind each. You will find that the American legal system, while not perfect, is the best one ever devised. That said, here are a few points: First, if the relocation were somehow a breach of contract, then you wouldn't get refund of your room fee: you would get the difference in value between the old room and the new room. Which might be nothing. You wouldn't get board because you could still use whatever board you have paid for. And as noted, this certainly isn't what the law with regard to emotional distress covers. It's a much higher threshold than that and if you study cases where people are awarded emotional distress damages you'll come to understand the good reasons why that is limited by the law to egregious cases.
    Good luck with the rest of your studies.

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