Update: Career Education Corp files its appeal brief

For those interested, Career Education Corp and Western Culinary Institute/Le Cordon Bleu Portland filed their appeal brief in our long-running consumer fraud class action, Surrett v. Western Culinary Institute. The brief is long and technical. It focuses on things like arbitration clauses and class action procedure. If you’re really interested, I’ve uploaded it here: Brief – CEC WCI Opening Brief.   (Note: if you’re interested enough to read it for fun, it occurs to me that you might need a hobby. But I digress.)

We are fortunate to have recruited Portland attorney Maureen Leonard to lead on the appeal. In addition to being a dear friend, Maureen is a talented and well-respected lawyer who limits her practice to appeals. We will file a responding brief, and then CEC/WCI files a reply. After their final brief, the appeal will be set for oral argument. There is no firm timeline for when we will be through the appeal process. That said, we are committed to the case and will see it through to the end.

I will post our completed brief once it is up and the occasional update when we have more news. Meantime, thanks for your interest and patience.


Julie Howell says

I would like to get on board with this. I was a WCI grad in 07 and was out of the country when this began. What can I do to help?

David Sugerman says

Thanks, Julie. Please contact our office at 503.228.6474 so that we can get some preliminary information and check to see whether you are on the class list.

Cary says

When this lawsuit first became news back in 2008, I was one of the early WCI grads to have stopped by your office for an interview and I joined the class. As months passed by, there was a decision made to not include anyone in the class that graduated from WCI prior to 2005 (or 2006?). Is this still the case and is there nothing we can do? Why are students, who attended from 2004-2005, not allowed to be included?

David Sugerman says

Cary-Yes that is still the case. The decision has to do with the timing of the filing, the claims, and legal requirements. If you will contact us privately (use the contact info), we can re-confirm that you are in or out. Even if you do not qualify, you can use the school's fraud as a defense to collection efforts if you are sued. But that requires you to handle a lawyer who knows this area and is available.

Mike says


Just wondering if I'm eligible to be involved in the case, I went to WCI from 11/04 - 02/06. Would like to get more info, if eligible.

Thanks, Mike

David Sugerman says

Hi Mike-
Thanks for the comment. You are not covered by this case, but there is still an important point here. IF Sallie Mae should sue you or anyone else who went to WCI in your era, there may be a way to get relief on this. Here is a link for more information. It works only if you or someone else from the school is sued in court by Sallie Mae and we get in the case in time. If Sallie Mae sues on WCI debts, please contact us promptly to discuss possible representation. Also, if you are in touch with people who went in the same era, please spread the word on this because we are interested in finding the right case to take on if Sallie Mae starts to sue in collections.


Jameela Schacht says

RE: Sallie Mae suits
I do have Sallie Mae loans for WCI expenses. I have not been sued or threatened yet. I have made payments when required, although I have been unemployed most of the time since graduation, and so have been able to keep my loans in forbearance most of the time. Your blog sparks my question: would it be a help to myself or to the group if I dropped the forbearance, then stopped making payments, to see if that would provoke a suit? It would surely leave a black mark on my credit rating, but could it lead to having my loans nullified based on fraud by WCI?

David Sugerman says

J-Interesting question. Can't really answer it here because my response would be public. Feel free to call (503.228.6474) or email me privately (david AT davidsugerman.com) to discuss. Thanks-David

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