LANSING, Mich., October 20, 2011
Cooley Files Motion to Dismiss Jobs Reporting Lawsuit
Calling the lawsuit a "flagrant" violation of federal pleading standards, Thomas M. Cooley Law School today filed a motion in U.S. District Court seeking dismissal of legal claims by four recent graduates who allege they were misled by the school's reporting of its post-graduation employment and salary data.
"It's time now for the Plaintiffs' claims to be evaluated by the only standard that matters – the rule of law in court," said Don LeDuc, Cooley's President and Dean, in announcing the filing.
"Our motion to dismiss is the right response to this litigation," said Brent Danielson, a retired district court judge and Chair of Cooley's Board of Directors. "Plaintiffs' Complaint clearly highlights their dissatisfaction with American Bar Association standards for how all law schools report their job placement data," Danielson continued, "but nowhere do Plaintiffs describe any legal claims against Cooley that, in our judgment, have any merit under Michigan law."
Cooley's motion to dismiss argues that the lawsuit, which alleges fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and violation of Michigan's Consumer Protection Act in how Cooley reports its job placement and salary data, must be dismissed for the following reasons:
• Plaintiffs' lawsuit flagrantly violates federal rules that require lawsuit complaints to be "simple, concise, and direct." Most of the complaint is not directed at Cooley at all, and certain allegations appear to be lifted from New York Times articles about legal education in general.
• Plaintiffs' lawsuit cannot proceed against Cooley alone because the ABA and NALP, the National Association for Law Placement, are indispensable parties to the litigation since the plaintiffs' chief complaints are against ABA and NALP reporting standards that Cooley and all other accredited law schools follow.
• At least two of the plaintiffs must be dismissed from the case because they appear to fall outside the applicable statute of limitations periods for their claims.
• Plaintiffs cannot attempt to rewrite national standards for reporting job placement data in a lawsuit in Michigan against Cooley by itself. Federal law, Department of Education regulations, national law school accreditation standards, and sound public policy all require national uniformity in how law schools report such data, requiring federal preemption of individual state tort law claims against any one law school in any one state.
• None of the three claims alleged in the lawsuit has legal merit. The Michigan Consumer Protection Act does not apply to students seeking a law degree to obtain legal employment. Fraud and negligent misrepresentation claims must be dismissed because the plaintiffs never allege that Cooley's jobs data was actually false, never identify any false data that they actually relied on, and never allege that Cooley had a legal duty to report its job placement data any differently than it did.
Cooley's motion and brief, as well as the Plaintiffs' complaint, may be viewed by clicking on the links provided through this web page.
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About the Thomas M. Cooley Law School:
CooleyLaw School is the largest law school in the nation. Founded in 1972, the private, non-profit 501(c)(3) Michigan educational corporation operates J.D. programs across Michigan with campuses in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. Today, Cooley Law School has more than 15,000 graduates across the nation and worldwide and also offers joint degree and master of laws programs. Cooley offers enrollment three times a year, in January, May and September. Additional information about Cooley can be found at cooley.edu.