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A lawyer who objected to a recent $49 million settlement with the makers of the BAR/BRI bar review course has announced the filing of a $48 million class action lawsuit on behalf of tens of thousands of consumers who were overcharged when purchasing BAR/BRI materials in preparation for the New York bar exam. The allegations in the suit are similar to those in an antitrust case in California against the same defendants � namely, that the students were overcharged by $1,000 each, on average. In that case, which was filed on behalf of 300,000 current and former law students nationwide, a federal judge approved a $49 million settlement earlier this month, despite the filings of numerous objectors. “This case is going to get the changes that Rodriguez did not get,” said the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Robert Arleo, a solo practitioner in Haines Falls, New York, referring to the California case, Ryan Rodriguez v. West Publishing Corp., No. 05cv3222 (C.D. Calif.). Arleo, who represented three objectors in the California case, said he is seeking damages of up to $48 million for a potential class numbering about 48,000. He is also seeking injunctive relief, which “no one got in Rodriguez,” he said. “This case will have enough of a domino effect nationally to knock these guys out,” Arleo said of the defendants, West Publishing Corp. and its parent company, Thomson Corp. BAR/BRI, he said, is “grossly overpriced, and the manner in which they sell it has got to stop.” James Rittinger, a partner at New York-based Satterlee Stephens Burke & Burke, who represents Thomson and West, declined to comment. The suit, originally filed in state court last month, claims the defendants violated New York’s general business law by fraudulently and deceptively inducing class members, using various advertising materials, to purchase BAR/BRI products at inflated prices. In particular, BAR/BRI falsely advertises that students graduating from New York law schools must take its bar review course in order to pass the state’s bar exam, the suit says. The case was removed to federal court on July 17. Jeffrey Provenzano v. Thomson, No. 1:2007cv00746 (N.D. NY). The plaintiffs are two 2005 graduates and one 2006 graduate, all from Albany Law School, who purchased the full BAR/BRI bar review course and took the New York bar exam. The suit is a class action filed on behalf of anyone who, within the last six years, graduated from a New York law school and purchased a BAR/BRI product in preparation for the state’s bar exam.

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