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Cooley Dismissal Motion Says Misleading Stats Suit Reads ‘Like a Free-Form Rant’

Posted Oct 21, 2011 8:59 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The Thomas M. Cooley Law School comes out swinging in a motion to dismiss a lawsuit that claims students were misled by the school’s job statistics.

Cooley’s motion (PDF) claims the plaintiffs’ complaint is so deficient that it violates Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. “The complaint reads more like a free-form rant on an Internet blog than Rule 8’s required ‘short and plain statement of the claim,’ ” Cooley asserts. The motion was filed by Miller, Canfield Paddock and Stone on Oct. 20.

Cooley is one of three law schools sued by grads who contend they were misled by statistics that count graduates as employed even if they are in temporary jobs or in jobs that don’t require a law degree. The other schools—the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and New York Law School—have also filed dismissal motions.

Cooley's motion hits the plaintiffs for using “metaphors blatantly plagiarized from a New York Times article” and says they appear to be targeting employment and salary data collected by the ABA and the National Association for Law Placement. “One thing becomes clear on a journey through plaintiffs’ complaint,” Cooley’s motion says. “Plaintiffs’ claims are aimed at ABA and NALP standards, not Cooley’s compliance with them.”

Cooley also claims the lawsuit is pre-empted by federal law that creates a uniform scheme for law-school employment reporting.

One of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, Jesse Strauss, told the National Law Journal he was puzzled why Cooley was blaming the ABA and NALP. "It was Cooley that we allege deceptively reported a postgraduate employment rate of between 75 percent and 80 percent over the last decade, and it was Cooley that cashed our clients' tuition checks," he said.

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