Update: Consumer fraud class action Career Ed Corp and Western Culinary Institute

In blog comments, we have been asked for updates on this case, which is below. A few things. First. A better source of quick update is our firm Facebook page. Assuming you are an FB user, simply go here and like the page, and you’ll get more timely information. Second. We have to be mindful of  what we post here. It’s a public page. No doubt that counsel for Career Education Corp and Western Culinary/Le Cordon Bleu Portland read this blog–greetings, Mr. Nylen–so we act accordingly.

And now to the specifics. Last Friday we appeared in front of Judge Baldwin for a long hearing on defendants’ motions to decertify the class and for summary judgment. For people keeping track at home, if granted, the first motion would end the class action and require everyone to go forward individually. If granted, the second motion would end the case, with a victory for the defendants.

Judge Baldwin did not rule from the bench and instead took the motions under advisement. This was not a surprise–there were many pages of pleadings and exhibits to review. It’s a big job digesting all of it.

I handled oral argument for the class, which went approximately two hours. While it’s not a particularly good predictor of outcomes, I felt good about how oral argument went. The defendants have since filed another motion, asking the Court to take into account a recent decision in New York dismissing a law school fraud class action. We’re not particularly impressed with the new argument–New York law is different. So are law schools.

While there is no fixed deadline, I would expect to hear back from Judge Baldwin by early or mid-April. He instructed the sides to come up with a proposed schedule for the rest of the case as well.

Meanwhile, we are preparing for trial of this large and complicated case. It’s been an interesting ride over the last four years. The legal team for the class has put in thousands of hours of work. (Yes, you read that correctly.)  The case continues to present many challenges. Our task remains to overcome each obstacle and get the case to trial.  No one said this case would be easy, but I remain pleased with our progress. And while it may look like nothing is happening, behind the scenes we continue to push forward to our day in court.


L. Wick says

To my mind, and in my humble (and post-retirement) opinion, Western Culinary Institute (now called "Le Cordon Bleu" due to what they currently call "trademark licensing" by a European company --apparently without any implemented quality controls as required by U.S. and international trademark law to keep their trademark valid) and its Chicago-area-based parent company, Career Education Corporation, are doing everything they can (sometimes called by some people, "The Chicago Way"), to wreck this very valid, meritorious case filed by the capable and professional Mr. David Sugerman, his co-counsel and their professional staffs on behalf of otherwise defenseless former WCI students (including one of my children) who, in my opinion, were defrauded by WCI/CEC. [As a trusting parent, I was duped just as badly as my college student.] Hopefully, the Judge will see through this and let the class action proceed to trial. We will see, when the Judge publishes his decision. I hope everyone takes a stand in favor of continuing this lawsuit, even if appeals are required in order to see JUSTICE done -- ENOUGH IS ENOUGH !

J. J. says

Pleased to see this moved forward. Every person in my class was lied to, including myself, by the enrollment team who told us repeatedly lies about what we were paying for and then after we were in the school they told us a different story.

M.Gilman says

I somehow missed this lawsuit until recently. Portland wci graduate 8/06-8/07. I contacted you through email, I would really like to hear more about this case and if I fit the criteria.

David Sugerman says

Got your email and will check against our list and get back to you next week. Meantime, this blog and our law firm Facebook page are good sources of information and update.

Rebecca Tarr says

This may be off target, but I think partially related.
I graduated in 1996. I now live in Australia and went back to school (in australia) for secondary teaching. The registration board here needs a response from the WCI regarding information of entry requirements, the full-time duration, and if it was an approved program of higher education. (CHEA accreditation?).
The Western Culinary is not responding formally to the Victorian Institute of Teaching and thus is holding back my ability to teach/earn a wage. It is most frustrating. I am hoping you can help and or direct me to someone that will give me some information that I can pass on.

David Sugerman says

Sorry. I don't have a lot of suggestions. There is a lawyer in Portland you might be able to retain who does educational matters. Will email his his contact info.

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