The John Marshall Law School and Chicago-Kent College of Law have become the latest to see fraud litigation brought by recent graduates rejected by a judge.
Cook County, Ill., Circuit Judge Mary Mikva dismissed proposed class actions against both schools following oral arguments on November 9. Those cases were among 14 similar suits accusing law schoolsacross the country of inflating their post-graduate job statistics to lure students.
The courts now have dismissed five of these cases. Federal and state court judges tossed out lawsuits against New York Law School, DePaul University College of Law and Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Suits against Golden Gate University School of Law and the University of San Francisco School of Law both survived initial motions to dismiss in San Francisco County, Calif., Superior Court.
A separate case against Thomas Jefferson School of Law, brought by different attorneys, is also moving forward.
“The judge’s ruling vindicates John Marshall’s position that our reporting of post-graduate employment statistics did not violate the rights of any of our students,” dean John Corkery said. “John Marshall will continue its proud tradition of providing a quality education for its students and of preparing them to succeed in their careers and in life.”
Jesse Strauss, one of three attorneys coordinating the national litigation, said the team plans to appeal. They have shrugged off earlier dismissals, predicting the litigation ultimately would be decided at the appellate level. They have already filed an appeal of the March dismissal against New York Law School.
Mikva heard more than an hour of oral arguments in the John Marshall case before ruling from the bench. Instead of writing a separate opinion, she cited her colleague Judge Neil Cohen’s dismissal the nearly identical case against DePaul. Cohen ruled that the allegations of fraud were too broad and the damage claims too speculative. Cohen and Mikva agreed that the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act does not apply to educational institutions.
Mikva heard arguments in the Chicago-Kentcase directly afterward, and made a similar ruling.
“We are very grateful and gratified by the ruling,” said Jeanne Hartig, vice president for communications at Chicago-Kent. “We maintained from the beginning that the case did not have merit, and we are delighted that the judge agreed.”
Karen Sloan is a reporter for The National Law Journal, a Legal affiliate based in New York.