Cooley to Appeal Dismissal of Defamation Case Against New York Law Firm
Sept. 30, 2013 – U.S. District Court Judge Robert Jonker today dismissed a defamation lawsuit which Thomas M. Cooley Law School filed in July 2011 against the New York-based Kurzon Strauss law firm after that firm falsely accused the law school of fraudulently misrepresenting its post-graduate employment statistics. Cooley recently prevailed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit when the appeals court affirmed the dismissal of a separate lawsuit Kurzon Strauss had filed against Cooley over the supposed misrepresentations, specifically finding that Cooley had not fraudulently reported any of its employment data.
In dismissing Cooley's defamation case today, the Court chose not to address the defamatory nature of Kurzon Strauss's false accusations against Cooley, but instead ruled that Cooley could not prove that the Kurzon Strauss lawyers defamed Cooley with "actual malice."
"After a federal trial court and a federal appeals court both found the Kurzon Strauss misrepresentation case against Cooley to be without merit, it's hard to reconcile Judge Jonker's ruling that Kurzon Strauss's unfounded accusations can't be pursued as defamation" said Jim Thelen, Cooley's Associate Dean for Legal Affairs and General Counsel.
"We will pursue the case in the appeals court now, where we'll have a new hearing on these issues," Thelen continued.
In its unsuccessful misrepresentation case against Cooley over Cooley's reported post-graduate employment statistics—one of several unsuccessful cases it filed against law schools around the country—the Kurzon Strauss firm had solicited Cooley graduates over the Internet to file claims that Cooley fraudulently misrepresented its graduates' employment status in order to dupe them into attending law school. But Judge Gordon Quist of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan dismissed that case in July 2012, finding it to be completely without legal merit. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that ruling this summer. Seven other cases like it around the country have also been dismissed.
About Cooley Law School: Celebrating 40 years of excellence, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School is a private, nonprofit, independent law school accredited by the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission. Cooley has provided its more than 17,000 graduates with the practical skills necessary for a seamless transition from academia to the real world. Cooley offers its Juris Doctor program, Joint Degree programs, and Master of Laws programs three times a year with enrollment in January, May and September. Cooley Law School has campuses across Michigan in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor, and its new campus in Tampa Bay, Florida.