Our neighbor, the St. Thomas University School of Law, has been sued over expelling students. It seems to be a fraud claim: that the school admitted students it knew wouldn’t pass and/or that it had a plan to flunk a greater percentage of the class than advertised in order to raise its bar pass rate:
A former law student has filed a federal class action against St. Thomas University School of Law of Miami, claiming that it is illegally accepting and then expelling more than 25% of its first-year class to boost its flagging bar pass rates.
Filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, the complaint alleges that the private law school unlawfully dismissed Thomas Joseph Bentey and as many as 80 students from the incoming class of 2005 because they failed to maintain a 2.5 grade point average.
The action further alleges that in 2003 the school began a scheme to accept large numbers of students-and their tuition dollars-only later to dismiss or pressure the withdrawal of almost 30% of its first- and second-year students. The case could include hundreds of former students as plaintiffs if the court grants class action status.
The associate dean for student and alumni services at St. Thomas law school called the lawsuit “illogical.”
“Why would you admit people and dismiss them early if you’re trying to get their resources?” said George Sheldon.
I have to say that this is the first case of its kind I’ve heard of. Usually law schools get sued for not admitting people. Or students say they want to sue when they fail the bar, or learn that the school doesn’t even try to teach them the dull parts of the bar exam but wants them to take an expensive cram course after graduation.
I would have thought judges would tend not to be sympathetic to this sort of claim, especially the class action part (as to be a class action you need to show that the facts are the same for each member of the class — but each exam is different) — but I am not ready to predict that it won’t get to discovery, especially as an individual claim for the named plaintiff alone.
I can confidently predict, however, that it’s not going to affect my grading.