Law Schools

Suit claiming Widener law school used misleading job stats can't proceed as class action, judge says

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A federal judge in New Jersey has refused to certify a class action in a suit that claims Widener University School of Law posted misleading job statistics.

In his decision (PDF), U.S. District Judge William Walls of Newark cited two reasons why the case could not proceed as a class action, the New Jersey Law Journal (sub. req.) reports.

First, common questions don’t predominate because of differing damages suffered by the law grads, Walls said. Some grads obtained the type of legal jobs they sought when enrolling while others did not, and their losses, if any, would differ. The plaintiffs had argued classwide damages could be assessed using a fraud-on-the-market theory, but New Jersey courts have rejected that method outside of federal securities fraud litigation, Walls said.

Second, the typicality requirement wasn’t met because it’s not clear if all members of the proposed class were exposed to the misrepresentations, Walls said.

The suit had claimed the law school violated consumer fraud statutes when its website touted an employment rate of at least 90 percent for its graduates without disclosing that the statistic included “any kind of job, no matter how unrelated to law.”

Related article: “Judge allows suit against Widener law school over job stats, cites ‘thread of plausibility’ “

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