Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Scamsuit Updates

Yesterday, a panel of the Sixth Circuit affirmed Judge Quist's decision to dismiss the lawsuit against Cooley.

You can read the ridiculous opinion:

http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/13a0198p-06.pdf

The panel of judges spend pages on a weird technicality related to Michigan's consumer laws.  Basically, they reason that the students might have a claim if the complaint mentioned that law school affected their personal lives and not just their business interests.  This distinction made at the dismissal stage is a stretch and makes little sense.  Of course, the judges spend the rest of the opinion discussing how unreasonable it was for law students to ever give any credence to anything that the law schools ever said or wrote.  It is written in an eye-rolling tone, like the judges are saying, "Of course the law schools lie about the benefits of a J.D. -- Duh!"

Apparently, thousands of law students across the country are objectively "unreasonable" for relying on the information provided by their federally funded law schools about the benefits of earning a J.D.  The one question that the judges never seem to answer: if the employment and salary data is not important or not a reasonable source of information, why do the schools go to such lengths to manipulate the data and to hide information even in this current era of Law School Transparency and new ABA rules (which some schools still do not comply with because no real consequences exist).  If the employment and salary data are truly irrelevant and unbelievable, why would the schools not just tell the truth about 50% or more of graduates who never work as lawyers?  Obviously, the law schools gain some benefit by misleading their students, otherwise they would not do it.

Even though a few of the other lawsuits have survived, so far, it makes me a little queasy to think that a lawsuit against Cooley cannot survive.  If you read the opinion, the judges recognize that Cooley has an open admission policy, huge class sizes, a one third dropout rate, and all sorts of other factoids that I did not know before but that reinforce the sad joke that is Cooley.

34 comments:

  1. Oh well. Did the "sophisticated consumer" get mentioned too?

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  2. Can a law school claim that 100% of its grads are employed when each and every one of those grads is working part-time as a cashier at McDonald’s? Yes.

    “The graduates cannot prove that Cooley committed fraudulent misrepresentation based on the “percentage of graduates employed” because the graduates cannot prove that this statistic was false. The statistic does not say percentage of graduates “employed in full-time, permanent positions for which a law degree is required or preferred.” It only says percentage of graduates “employed.” The graduates might have thought that “employed” meant employed in a permanent position for which a law degree was required or preferred—but, again “[a] plaintiff’s subjective misunderstanding of information that is not objectively false or misleading cannot mean that a defendant has committed the tort of fraudulent misrepresentation.” [citation omitted]. Slip Op. at 12-13.

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    1. In a way, these lawsuits help. It gives us ammunition to show very clearly that the whole legal system, from law school to the federal bench, is a disgusting, interlinked, spiderweb of the giant scam.

      Not much, but better than nothing.

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    2. dybbuk, once you've had the time to mull this over, I'm looking forward to your takedown of this opinion.

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  3. Can a law school provide “objectively untrue” salary data? Yes, as long as it slaps on the word "survey."

    “For example, the Employment Report for 2010 states that the “average starting salary for all graduates” was $54,796. On its face, the phrase “all graduates” means just that: all Cooley graduates—not just the ones who responded to the survey—made, on average, $54,796. One could assume that, because there were 934 graduates, the average starting salary for all 934 graduates was $54,796. The title of the document containing this statement is “Employment Report and Salary Survey.” Therefore, it cannot be that the average starting salary of all 2010 graduates was $54,796, because the document, entitled “Employment Report and Salary Survey” (emphasis added) was not
    based on the responses of all of the Cooley graduates in 2010; rather, the document states that the number of 2010 graduates was 934, but the number of graduates with employment status known was 780. So, the “[a]verage starting salary for all graduates” would instead mean the average starting salary of graduates who responded to the survey and chose to include their salary information—not the average salary of all Cooley graduates in any given year. We agree with the district court that this statistic is “objectively untrue,” MacDonald, 880 F. Supp. 2d at 794, but that the graduates’ reliance upon it was “also unreasonable,” id. at 796, which dooms their fraudulent misrepresentation claim.” Slip Op. at 14-15.

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  4. At this point, the best way out really is starting to look like suicide. Not joking either.

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    1. BS! Never let Caesar win like that. The dead disappear and are forgotten. The living tell tales and give advice and teach others.

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    2. Dont give up. Lets all fight them. It may come to fighting in the streets but we did it in 1776. You are worth a lot.

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    3. you expect people to join you for fighting in the streets over20-30k adult law students who had a less than desirable outcome.

      in a country of 330,000,000, that's not even round off error.

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    4. LOL. Very true. Being "lawyers", the population would be against you not with you. Nobody is going to cry over lawyers with non-dischargeable debt. Nobody is going to feel sorry for you or not think you got your just desserts. The only hope to change the loan system is to trump up the issue involving student loans for college students . . not law students.

      But cheer up anyway. Be glad you cannot make a career in the law. Its not that law is not a potentially lucrative profession as much as lawyers either start out or become miserable people because of the system. It is a system that will make you jaded, cynical, argumentative, pessimistic and oftentimes depressed. All you have is debt. At least you are avoiding a lifetime as a working attorney.

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    5. Just deserts (one S), unless you're talking about tiramisu or banana cream pie . . .

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  5. I would have been surprised if there were any other decision from the court.

    We have known all along that we are almost on our own. No one is going to help us spread the word about the scam. Judges are the "kept husbands" of the legal establishment and they are not going to help change the system. Campos and Tannenaha (SP?) and others in the media help, but they are our only allies.

    Our superior will is eventually going to destroy the law school brand. Changing the status quo takes constant effort. Look, it's paying off. We can't attribute a certain percentage of law school and LSAT declines to us, but we can continue to do our work, secure in the knowledge that what we are doing is right and is just. We won't win if a few law schools go out of business, as nice as that will be. We won't win if a few law professors wind up taking our Starbucks coffee orders. We will win if we destroy the prestige of law school and that takes time.

    Law school destroyed my life. I have spent the last three years getting my life back and I'm not going to stop until I get my revenge.

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    1. Exactly. As the courts have demonstrated that they will be of absolutley no help in this matter, our only weapon is our will coupled with our voices. Strangle the beast until it expires.

      Did anyone expect a huge monetary settlement be given to students? No. Did we expect the courts to at least acknowledge some level of intentional misrepresentation and detrimental reliance? Apparently it unreasonable to not realize that Law Schools, the bastions of ethics that they are, are lying through their teeth.

      The american consumer has more recourse and more protections from lemon cars than they do from lemon law degrees. Duly noted.

      At least this stuff is out on the public record. No wonder Cooley wants to change its name.

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    2. Has anyone considered a traveling band of truth tellers to try to reach colleges on a personal level. Debate law deans in a respectful manner in a public place on campus. Fight them with hard facts. And educate them on the risk of obtaining a law degree. Maybe a documentary. Michael Moore could be maybe coaxed into something. We should not live in a country where seeking more education destroys lives of young and older students. And the legal profession should not be destroyed because of the scam.

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    3. If law school destroyed your life, just wait 'til you see what the practice will do for you given the numbers of practitioners put into the system by the schools. School was the first bite of a shit sandwich.

      Somethings are best avoided.

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    4. Anon @ 12:05.
      Actually, I quite like the practice I am involved with. Law itself has not chewed me up. I work for a corporation and would have hated working at a law firm.
      Indeed, I have quite liked the personal interactions I have had with smaller practitioners, and extend my influence to avoiding outside counsel from large law firms. If I can continue to grow in my field and don't get laid off, I can happily do this until I retire.

      What destroyed me was the extended period of unemployment and the cutthroat nature at my Toilet, which extended to outright sabotage.

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  6. Is there an underlying floodgates concern? Express or implied?

    In other words, if this suit went forward, then a lot more suits would follow?

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    1. Of course there is a floodgates concern. Its not just a few schools that presented false/misleading info regarding outcomes. They pretty much all did.

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  7. it doesn't exactly praise cooley, just dismisses their claims. it really does not sound good for cooley

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  8. Clearly, an allrgation needs to be made that a student asked an admissions counselor about employment stats and was deceived to bring a claim for fraud by silence under michigan law. So cooley grads in the future who sue should make the proper allegation

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  9. I mean, this opinion is instructive about what needs to be alleged next time. Claim they blatantly lied to you.

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  10. "Law school destroyed my life. I have spent the last three years getting my life back and I'm not going to stop until I get my revenge."

    After about 10 years out from law school, I can finally see a path emerging outside of the traditional law firm setting, i.e., JD preferred. It's so much better than working in a law firm dealing with the instability and general jerkiness of law partners. Law firms are wholly mismanaged generally and the people that bear the brunt are associates and staff. Very soon I hope to be able to look past my mistake of law school and get back on track. BTW, I still owe about $100K.

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  11. Generally, law is a high stress job and as a result, many career lawyers become pri**s and women lawyers become c**ts. Its the nature of the beast.

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    1. and what do scam bloggers become?

      you make a bs generalization that makes scam bloggers seem like winey little bitches because you were not successful. I know a lot more successful attorneys that are decent people than p and c'.

      Delete

  12. Why read the opinion. Journey can sing it better:

    "Don't stop deceivin'
    Hold on the the feelin'..."

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  13. "The panel of judges spend pages on a weird technicality related to Michigan's consumer laws. Basically, they reason that the students might have a claim if the complaint mentioned that law school affected their personal lives and not just their business interests."

    According to these federal pig "judges," i.e. bag-men for Industry, drowning in immense sums of NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt does not rise to the level of affecting law grads' personal lives.

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  14. All is not lost:

    HARNISH v. WIDENER UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW (D.N.J. 3202013)
    JOHN HARNISH, JUSTIN SCHLUTH, ROBERT KLEIN, ROBERT MACFADYEN, GREGORY
    EDMOND, AYLA O'BRIEN KRAVITZ, MEGAN SHAFRANSKI, CHRISTINA MARINAKIS, on
    behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v.
    WIDENER UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW, and DOES 110.,
    Defendants.
    Civ. No. 2:12cv00608
    (WHW).
    United States District Court, D. New Jersey
    March 20, 2013.
    OPINION
    William H. Walls, Senior District Judge
    Defendant The Delaware Law School of Widener University, Inc. ("Widener") moves for dismissal of Plaintiffs' Amended Class Action Complaint ("Amended Complaint") pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint alleges Widener posted to its website, and disseminated to thirdparty law school evaluators, misleading and incomplete graduate employment rates in violation of New Jersey and Delaware Consumer Fraud Acts. The Court decides and denies this motion without oral argument
    under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78(b).

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  15. "My life was ruined by .... " Sounds like anything you tried to do would have ruined it. My cousin came back from Vietnam and would have LOVED to have been in debt to a law school with all his body parts intact.

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    1. Oh, by the way, get off my lawn!

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    2. Boomers are like the "Topper" guy from Dilbert. No matter what happens to you, they ALWAYS had it worse. And they are ALWAYS superior to ALL the other dolts they have the misfortune of having to share the planet with, who NEVER will amount to anything.

      http://search.dilbert.com/comic/Topper

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  16. Thomas M. Cooley School of Law: The home of "objectively untrue" career stats. (6th Cir.)

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  17. I graduated from this diploma mill but never joined the class action lawsuit because my instincts told me the judges will decide in favor of the law schools with a BS argument. Now all the graduates who joined the various class action lawsuits against the various law schools will forever have their names blemished as Sue happy plaintiffs. The repercussions will be devastatingly similar to having an online mugshot when applying for jobs, housing, or even for entering graduate school for a different field. As for myself, I kept the Cooley law degree off my job applications when seeking employment so as not to appear overqualified but I can empathize with the grads who did sue.

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  18. No, the class action plaintiffs will have the same liklihood of employment as you.. and the rest of the class.

    Did you wind up at Cravath because you did not join the lawsuit?

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