ABA Journal


Consumer Law

Appeals Court ‘Troubled’ By NY Law School Job Stats, But Says Lower Court Was Right to Nix Suit

Dec 20, 2012, 07:12 pm CST


*"S]imply publishing truthful information and allowing consumers to make their own assumptions about the nature of the information” is not enough to violate the law, wrote Justice Rolando T. Acosta in a unanimous opinion.*

I have to take issue with the word "truthful." I don't believe it's synonymous with "misleading" which might be a more accurate description of incomplete information.

By Esq. on 2012 12 20, 7:26 pm CST

Oh, SNAP! The plaintiffs didn't get the reversal they were counting on, and now there is adverse appellate level precedent to burden mooncalves still soldiering on in other cases.

By B. McLeod on 2012 12 20, 8:33 pm CST

Oh, BM. The mooncalves still have a few stops before the slaughterhouse (or the trash bin, I guess). This adverse precedent only binds the First Dept, and the state's high court may still hear an appeal...although many judges seem to avoid these cases when given the opportunity. Remember, a few of these cases in other states are in discovery right now, turning up all sorts of interesting stuff. New York is the only state where two courts seem to want to suffocate the first case before the dirty laundry gets aired out during discovery.

Then again, a forthcoming law review article argues that the deans/administrators of the law schools clearly violate the ethics rules (8.4 and others I think), so perhaps the state disciplinary committee will be the final stop.

By AB on 2012 12 22, 4:59 pm CST

Perhaps someone will yet help the hapless mooncalves. But not me (at least, not today). Onward to feast and celebration!

By B. McLeod on 2012 12 22, 5:03 pm CST

I've said it before, and will say it again. If you kept the facts the same but substituted "welding or bus driving school" for "law school", these suits would have survived.

Major baby boomer bias here. Ignorance too. Evidently the most market efficient result is to have the lowest cost provider of the information - the law schools - play "hide the ball", and have prospective students do their own investigations and data-crunching. Makes sense to me....

By Guest on 2012 12 22, 6:03 pm CST

"defendant and its peers have at least an ethical obligation of absolute candor to their prospective students."

This sounds like the Court is pointing the plaintiffs toward an alternative cause of action - violation of professional responsibility regulations.

Was this cause of action in the original pleadings? My guess is that it was not.

Something for plaintiffs (and scum-sucking defendants) to think about.

Here's some more - there are *many* alternative causes of action (beyond the various species of fraud) that could at least theoretically be brought against the schools (and their shabby, shabby behavior).

Here are some bare bones alternative causes of action off the top of my head (without getting into required elements, specific likelihood of prevailing, etc.).

I wonder how many of these have actually been attempted yet, in the various cases:

1) Common law fraud

2) Federal wire/mail fraud

3) Honest services fraud on the part of a governmental entity (public law schools) (law still viable?)

4) Qui tam actions for fraud against federal/state governments (guaranteed student loans)

5) Negligent misrepresentation (hello, ABA and USN≀)

6) Breach of fiduciary duty (remember all that financial info you had to disclose to your price discriminating law school?)

7) Statutory violation of tax laws concerning "nonprofit" status of schools and endowments

8) Writ of mandamus executed against public law schools to perform complete and accurate disclosure of *all* relevant placement information in their possession.

9) Quo warranto writ executed against public law schools for unlawful execution of powers (public purpose of misleading applicants?)

10) Violation of various Professional Responsibility obligations

11) Federal and State Deceptive Trade Practices

12) Securities law violations (false/incomplete representations when packaging student loans into securities for public sale).

Now, litigation is a long and tortured road - even fleshing out the required elements for each of the above causes of action (and there are multiple ones for every potentially affected party) will take time and care.

But an open source project to do so can focus the rage and betrayal of tens of thousands of deceived and highly motivated (read, terminally pissed off) law grads.

And in doing so, can make a lot of the necessary legal groundwork *freely* available to potential litigants and their small, outgunned plaintiff firms.

By cas127 on 2012 12 22, 8:24 pm CST

Breaches of the professional rules are not "a cause of action," but it wouldn't surprise me if some of the mooncalves try that next. After all, the ones complaining aren't the ones who landed good jobs.

By B. McLeod on 2012 12 22, 8:26 pm CST

Comment removed by moderator.

By cas127 on 2012 12 23, 1:14 am CST

How quickly you descend to your primitive rage. It occurs to me that thousands of those people will be running the very law schools you decry, while thousands more (since you went back 40 years) will have made their fortunes and moved on. Hence, you are grossly overestimating the number of unemployable mooncalves who don't know what a "cause of action" is.

By B. McLeod on 2012 12 23, 2:00 am CST

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