Monday, April 1, 2013

New York Law School Prevails in Fraud Suit Over Employment Data

From the National Law Journal (excerpts):

New York state's court of last resort has refused to revive a lawsuit by disgruntled New York Law School graduates who alleged their alma mater enticed them to enroll through fraud. As the first of 15 similar lawsuits to reach a courtroom, the case had been seen as a bellwether.

The New York State Court of Appeals offered no explanation for refusing to hear Gomez-Jimenez v. New York Law School. The vote was 4-1, with Judge Robert Smith dissenting. Judge Jenny Rivera—a professor at the City University of New York School of Law for 15 years before her appointment to the court in February—abstained.

Nine graduates sued the law school in 2011, alleging it had induced them to enroll by lying about how well its graduates fared in the job market. They sought $225 million in compensation.

[Plaintiffs’ attorney]Strauss allowed that the high court's decision not to hear the appeal does not bode well for the three other cases against New York law schools. A trial judge in January dismissed a nearly identical action against Albany Law School; an appeal was pending. Plaintiffs are awaiting decisions at the trial level in cases against both Brooklyn Law School and the Hofstra University Maurice A. Deane School of Law.

While New York courts have been hostile to the law school suits, they have had more success elsewhere. A federal judge in New Jersey on March 20 denied a motion to dismiss a fraud case against Widener University School of Law, ruling that the alumni claims were plausible. California state court lawsuits against the California Western School of Law; Golden Gate University School of Law; the University of San Francisco School of Law; Southwestern Law School and Thomas Jefferson School of Law have survived initial motions to dismiss.

Still, cases against DePaul University College of Law; Chicago-Kent College of Law; and The John Marshall Law School have been dismissed, as has the case against the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, which is on appeal.


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