Westminster lawsuit withdrawn from NY court

By Lauren Lavelle

A lawsuit filed against Rider in response to the anticipated sale of Westminster Choir College (WCC) to Chinese-based education company Kaiwen Education was dismissed on Oct. 2, so that plaintiffs can litigate the entire matter in New Jersey courts.

The suit was originally filed in New York by a group of WCC alumni, parents and students hoping to declare the sale of the choir school illegal. 

According to Bruce Afran, the attorney responsible for the case, the WCC plaintiffs who filed the suit plan to join the Princeton Theological Seminary in their existing suit against Rider. 

“We asked the New York judge for permission to withdraw that case without prejudice,” Afran said. “Our purpose in doing so is to litigate all the issues in one court, the New Jersey Superior Court in Trenton.”

Afran said “withdrawn” was a more appropriate word for the status of the case.

“Our withdrawing from the New York court is only for the purpose of bringing all of the claims together in one court,” he said. 

Kristine Brown, associate vice president for university marketing and communications, maintained the university’s positive stance on the nature of the sale. 

“We take very serious all litigation involving the university,” Brown said. “We don’t comment on the specifics of lawsuits, but we are encouraged by this most recent outcome. Our position remains the same.We believe this transaction is in the best interest of preserving and enhancing Westminster Choir College. Kaiwen’s commitment is real, and we are working hard to ensure this transition moves forward.”

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