Senior Federal District Judge William Walls denied Widener Law's FRCP 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss in an action alleging that Widener University School of Law "posted to its website, and disseminated to third-party law school evaluators, misleading and incomplete graduate employment rates in violation of New Jersey and Delaware Consumer Fraud Acts".
The opinion is here.
This is an interesting decision in part because it could have implications for the many other law schools that recruit in New Jersey. (I leave it to the Civil Procedure buffs to opine about the extent to which New Jersey law could be used more broadly.)
For Widener the stakes are indisputably high. The plaintiffs seek $75 million in damages due to inflated tuition price - $225 million or more, total, after treble damages. Using back of the envelope math, it sounds like plaintiffs claim that Widener's method of reporting employment data resulted in annual tuition that was roughly$10K too high.
Many matters remain to shake out in this case, including class certification, a difficult case on the merits, and some challenging damages issues.
But this decision appears somewhat more significant than the (thus far limited) coverage would suggest. If nothing else, ongoing cases of this potential size could pose challenges for schools seeking to issue new bonds. And you have to wonder about potential exposure for many other law schools under this reading of New Jersey law.
H/T ABA Journal