July 08, 2011
Class Action Waiver Prevents Students from Proceeding Against For-Profit Westwood College
A group of students sued for-profit Westwood College in federal district court in Colorado for allegedly engaging in "systemic deceptive trade practices by misrepresenting key facts about their operations, including the total cost of education at the schools, the prospect of job placement and salary expectations after graduation, the schools' accreditation status, and the transferability of credits obtained at the schools."
Last month, Judge Martinez of the District Court of Colorado dismissed the class action because the school’s enrollment materials contain a class action waiver. Judge Martinez wrote that "there is no doubt" that the holding in AT&T v. Concepcion "was a serious blow to consumer class actions and likely foreclosed the possibility of any recovery for many wronged individuals."
A website (www.westwoodscammed.me) maintained by the attorney representing the plaintiffs/students, contains videos of the student’s stories of allegedly being scammed by Westwood. Here is a CBS News clip about some of the allegedly deceptive practices at Westwood:
Also, here’s a clip from a NBC expose of for-profit schools generally (which, by the way, required me to first watch an advertisement for for-profit Capella University –ironic coincidence or a failure of contextual advertising?).
We are a little late to this story, so here are some links that very ably provide coverage of the case:
- A For-Profit School Battles as Class Arbitration is Taken Off the Table (Law.com)
- Class Action Suit v Westwood College By Students Derailed (WashParkProphet)
- Court Compels Arbitration Clauses Against Students (Law Librarian Blog)
Bernal v. Burnett, 2011 WL 2182903 (D.Colo. Jun. 6, 2011).
[Meredith R. Miller]
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