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A federal judge has agreed to dismiss a class action case alleging that the makers of the BAR/BRI bar review course used deceptive advertising materials to overcharge tens of thousands of law school students preparing for the New York bar exam. Robert Arleo, a solo practitioner in Haines Falls, N.Y., who brought the suit in July, had objected to a recent $49 million antitrust settlement in California with the same defendants, West Publishing Corp., and its parent company, Thomson Corp. The California case was filed on behalf of 300,000 current and former law students nationwide. His suit, alleging violations of New York’s general business law, sought $48 million in damages and accused both companies of inducing consumers with fraudulent and misleading claims, such as that they must take the BAR/BRI bar review course in order to pass the state’s bar exams. U.S. District Judge Lawrence E. Kahn, of the Northern District of New York, disputed that the advertising materials were deceptive or misleading, referring to some of the BAR/BRI statements cited in the complaint as “non-actionable puffing” and a “self-serving endorsement.” Further, the plaintiffs did not suffer actual injuries from the alleged conduct, he said. “We’re pleased that the judge agreed that there was no merit to the plaintiffs’ claims,” said John Shaughnessy, a Thomson spokesman. “Nothing in this decision changes the fact that BAR/BRI is deceiving law students,” Arleo said. “I disagree with the decision, and I’m undecided as to whether or not we’ll appeal it.”

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