As discussed in prior updates, multiple lawsuits have been filed against law schools premised on alleged misrepresentations regarding employment placement rates coming out of school. One such suit was filed against Thomas M. Cooley Law School in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, alleging that the school misrepresented information related to the employment prospects of its graduates. On July 20, 2012, the court dismissed the suit, finding that certain statements were not objectively false and others, while false, could be easily verified, negating any argument of justifiable reliance. MacDonald v. Thomas M. Cooley Law School, 1:11-cv-00831, 2012 WL 2994107, at *6, *9. The court also dismissed claims premised on a theory of "silent" fraud because the school had no duty to disclose additional information related to its employment statistics. Id. at *11.
To date, only one of these suits has survived motions to dismiss, a putative class action against Thomas Jefferson School of Law that was filed in California state court. In that suit, the former associate director of the school's career services office submitted a sworn statement indicating that she was repeatedly instructed to emphasize positive, but inaccurate, employment statistics and downplay negative employment statistics. Additionally, she stated that she "routinely recorded currently unemployed students as 'employed' if they had been employed at any time since graduation." Based on those statements, the plaintiffs filed a motion seeking sanctions against the school on October 18, 2012, asserting that the school altered and manipulated documents that relate to their allegations.