Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dad, You'd Better Cough Up Some Money so I can go to College and Pursue my Hobby!

Wow... I wish I thought of this.  Let's start with one of my stupid anecdotal stories.  When I was 12, I was already very book smart with straight "A's."  Because my parents are immigrants, I thought I should set them straight on my plans.  One day, I said to my mother, "Are you saving money for me to go to college, because I'm going.  You know that right?"  Mom said, "SURE, I am."  Years later, my financial package said that I would have to pull out loans because my family was middle-class, not poor.  I did receive some scholarships, but it didn't cover the full amount (and I lived at home to save money).  I showed the bill for tuition to my mother, and she said, "What do you want me to do with this?  I'm done. I paid for everything until you were 18."  I thought I warned her!?

Well, apparently, another girl didn't trust her parents to do the right thing.  As part of her parents' divorce in 2004, her father, a real estate developer, agreed to pay for education costs for his three children until they were 25 years old.  The father must have been less than trustworthy, because the daughter followed up by having her dad sign a separate contract, wherein he agreed to pay for her college tuition and car insurance payments until she was 25, provided that she tried her best to get loans.  He agreed to co-sign for these loans. 

He bailed.  No surprise.  So, she sued and won! 

Dana finished up school and then filed a breach of contract lawsuit in New Haven Superior Court against her father for failing to pay for her senior year of college.
The father represented himself in a two-day trial. He argued that Dana breached their agreement by not making reasonable efforts to apply for student loans, by failing to attend classes full time and by not providing him with receipts for tuition and other school-related expenses.
Howard Soderberg also filed a counterclaim alleging that his daughter dropped courses and pocketed the refunds. He also said she spent money that was supposed to go toward textbooks on personal items.
Attorney Berman said Dana was an art major and needed expensive art supplies for her classes. She said her father was typically late in making tuition payments, which often forced Dana to drop out of certain classes.
Judge Trial Referee William L. Hadden Jr. issued a written opinion earlier this month, ruling that father and daughter had a legitimate contract, that Dana proved to be the more credible party in the lawsuit, and that the father had breached the agreement.
"The plaintiff has proven that she has performed all of her obligations as set forth …" wrote Hadden. "The defendants have failed to prove the claims set forth in their special defenses and in Howard's counterclaim."
Berman said damages totaled around $47,000, including the loan, interest, attorney fees and missed car insurance payments. Berman did not anticipate an appeal.
So, I think this girl's vengeance is misguided.  Why did one year of tuition cost so much for an art major? 
Why not sue Southern Connecticut State for being so damn expensive.  Unreal.  Her father should have counter sued for her pursuing a bullshit major.


  1. Any man that gets married deserves to get fucked in family court. As bad as the law school scam is, nobody hides all the divorce settlements and divorce numbers. Everyone knows the divorce rate is high and men are the ones that usually pay.

    I have no sympathy for this douche.

  2. Please, you want to start micromanaging what your kids pick for majors maybe you should just deny any kind of civil rights to ANYONE! How about no more breeding & just getting robots instead? When you see someone in your immediate family die at a young age, then you can preach to me about the virtues of making a ton of money to support yourself while hating your life more & more each day.

    I also worked in a legal clinic dealing w/family law & there are some shitty parents out there. I won't even talk about my father. They need to be kicked in the pants & very hard. Financially isn't a bad way to go.

    I believe in owning one's choices but if you're going to be a parent, you'd better damn well act like one. What do you want to bet this guy would be trying to "be a father" to her if she ever got success or made a ton of money? Unless you're willing to forego that as well as not pay for "frivolous" pursuits, you're a hypocrite who shouldn't have bred. Who needs a parent who's just as bad as the fake friends who come out when you're a success?

  3. Looking for a good (or the best possible) loan consolidation to go with IBR. Any one have any suggestions?

  4. "So, I think this girl's vengeance is misguided."

    He signed a contract; he breached it. Why is it "vengeance" to sue to get him to do what he promised to do?

    "Why did one year of tuition cost so much for an art major? Why not sue Southern Connecticut State for being so damn expensive."

    I think this explains why you've had such trouble finding employment as a lawyer.

  5. @ Anon. 8:42:

    Well, that or the giant fraud perpetrated on post-secondary students and American tax payers in the last decade. Try again.

  6. You're a meanie and too literal to read my blog. Please don't, anymore, 8:42. You have no idea what my situation is or was.

  7. Cost seems to make sense. Article says the girl took out a 20K loan to cover the last year. That's pretty close to the norm for a full year of undergrad tuition at a state university.

    Of course, when you add the loan, interest, attorney fees, and missed car bills...everything adds up quick, doesn't it?

    I will agree with you on the major. College students should do a far better job selecting majors. Pick something useful already, students!

  8. The problem with "pick something useful already, students!" is that you can't just "pick" to do something useful. You have to actually have some sort of innate ability in the various subjects that are lacking in students.

    In other words, people think that students avoid math and the experimental/hard sciences because they are just lazy and don't want to do hard work. Or because it's not fun enough. Perhaps there's a little bit of that. But the truth is, vast amounts (and I would argue vast majorities) of the population simply don't have the ability to major in math/science regardless of how hard they work. It's not like people don't want to become doctors, or astronauts, or whatever. They just don't have that ability and are realistic about it.

    So these people will do what they "love," or at least have some ability in. The truth is, while there may not be a lot of demand for liberal arts majors, the demand isn't zero. So they'll take that risk and hope for the best.

  9. I think the underlying problem here is that the college almost certainly calculated her financial aid based on a parental contribution from her father -- whether he was willing to cough up or not. That's how middle class kids really get f*cked in undergrad. I am sadly speaking from experience -- it took me six years to get through undergrad because my greedy greedy alma mater refused to believe that my affluent STEPfather was not interested in contributing to my college education. [Story of trials and tribulations of undergrad deleted.]

    While I agree that 20K is a ridiculous amount of $ for a not-that-marketable education (based on her field of study), unless she went to a community college (and I am a huge fan of CCs) I think she played her hand the best she could.



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