Bar Exam

Law grads sue over ‘Barmageddon,’ seek refund of software fee and punitive damages


Law graduates in at least two states have filed suit over a so-called Barmageddon software glitch that reportedly made it impossible for a number of test-takers to submit their answers on time last month on the first day of the bar exam.

Although the deadline was extended in all affected states due to the slowdown issue, test-takers who spent $100 to $150 for ExamSoft Worldwide Inc. software that allowed them to type answers on their laptops without accessing forbidden material want refunds and compensation for the additional anxiety they suffered and time wasted trying without success to submit their answers, Courthouse News reports.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago, plaintiffs Michael Casner, Stanley Constantine and Sean Whatley seek compensatory and punitive damages for breach of contract, unjust enrichment and fraud. A similar case, seeking class-action status, was filed Tuesday in federal court in Spokane, Washington.

Meanwhile, the National Law Journal (sub. req.) says Phillip Litchfield, who graduated in May from Chicago-Kent College of Law, filed a class action against ExamSoft on Monday in federal court in Chicago. It seeks over $5 million in damages.

The federal suit in Washington was filed by Catherine Booher, who earned her law degree at Wake Forest University, and Christopher Davis, a Gonzaga University law graduate, the NLJ reports.

That suit also seeks over $5 million in damages, pointing to the emotional distress of test-takers. “Far from providing the stress-reducing functionality it advertised, ExamSoft added an extraordinary burden to an endeavor already fraught with stress and worry,” the complaint contends.

It says Booher couldn’t upload all of her answers from the first day of the bar exam until well into the second day, creating a major distraction during the test.

The Chicago state-court suit says ExamSoft has refused to provide refunds upon request, Courthouse News reports, responding with messages such as “Thank you for contacting ExamSoft. We deeply apologize for the inconvenience had happened Tuesday night. However, when paying and registering Softest on your computer you agreed to a disclaimer which indicated that there are no refunds. Again, I am really sorry. Please let me know if you have any further questions.”

A spokesman for ExamSoft did not immediately respond to the National Law Journal’s request for comment. News reports say ExamSoft attributed the problem to a large number of examinees trying at the same time to upload answers.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Barmageddon? Bar exam takers in multiple states can’t upload tests; deadlines extended”

ABAJournal.com: “Want to Take the N.Y. Bar Exam? Sign a Waiver”

Above the Law: “ExamSoft Sued In Illinois”

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