Cooley suit alleges fraudulent graduate job placement stats

Remember The Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s defamation suits against anonymous Internet commenters and the New York law firm that had made claims that Cooley misled prospective students with fraudulent job placement stats?

Earlier this week, the attorney for “Rockstar53,” Berkley attorney John Hermann, blasted the school in the Detroit Free Press, accusing it of abusing the system to silence critics:

“In contrast to their own mission statement, Cooley Law School is now seeking to use its power to stymie the constitutional right of free speech of its own students — albeit speech that negatively portrays the school consistent with other empirical data,” Berkley attorney John Hermann said in the motion, filed on behalf of his client, Rockstar05. “Ironically, Cooley is now the emperor who appears angry at being told he is not wearing any clothes.”

“Rockstar53” wrote on his blog “The Thomas M. Cooley Law School Scam” that the suit has caused “The Streisand Effect” i.e. by loudly objecting to something it wants silenced or deleted, it has actually done the reverse and brought more attention to it.

Today, New York law firm Kurzon Strauss filed a class-action suit against Cooley based on its earlier claims about the placement statistics. [Lansing State Journal]

“This action seeks to remedy a systemic, ongoing fraud that is ubiquitous in the legal education industry and threatens to leave a generation of law students in dire financial straits,” Kurzon Strauss attorneys said in the suit. “Essentially, plaintiffs want to bring an element of ‘sunlight’ or transparency to the way law schools report postgraduate employment data and salary information, by requiring that they make critical, material disclosures that will give both prospective and current students a more accurate picture of their postgraduate financial situation, as opposed to the status quo where law schools are incentivized to engage in all sorts of legerdemain when tabulating employment statistics.
“The school during the class period claims that a substantial majority of its graduates — roughly between 75% and 80% — secure employment within nine months of graduation. However, the reality of the situation is that these seemingly robust numbers include any type of employment, including jobs that have absolutely nothing to do with the legal industry, do not require a JD degree or are temporary or part-time in nature.”

The firm filed a similar case against New York Law School today.

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Casual Friday presents: Technology ho!

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I know Michigan Law School attracts the best and brightest, and perhaps some others.

It seems that during the admissions period, anxious applicants like to call and berate speak anonymously to admissions officials about why it takes so long to make a decision the process.

But assistant dean of admissions Sarah Zeafoss, well, I’ll let her tell you:

“I have some bad news for the recent spate of ‘anonymous’ phone callers to the Admissions Office,” Zearfoss wrote. “What with our being in the 21st century and all, we have caller ID.

“It’s sort of awkward for us when someone calls and says, ‘I don’t want to tell you who I am,’ but we’re sitting there looking at a screen that, in fact, tells us who you are. On the one hand, saying ‘too late!’ seems a little confrontational and snarky; on the other, playing along seems a little disingenuous. The solution? I’m putting it out there: we know who you are.”

[From ABA Journal]. Yes, type A law applicants (Are there any other kind?), 1990s technology has hit Michigan. We have TiVos and DVD players, and cell phones that don’t require carrying a bag around.

I’ve heard of forced overtime, but this is ridiculous. A Florida woman crashed through the gate at the prison where she worked. The sheriff found she was driving under the influence of a controlled or chemical substance. She was held in the jail at which she worked. But hey, it helped with the commute.

Iron(y) Man: Did you hear the one about the plaintiff class action law firm that was sued by a former employee for failing to pay overtime hours? [New York Times].

Tyson Foods settles antibiotics class action

Tyson Foods settled a class action suit involving its claims on labels and in advertising that its chickens are not fed antibiotics. [The Daily Record/Baltimore]

Meat processing giant Tyson Foods Inc. has settled a consumer class action brought over its controversial chicken “Raised Without Antibiotics” advertising campaign.

Under the agreement filed Tuesday night in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, individual consumers will receive as much as $50 each. The cost to Tyson is $5 million, with $600,000 set aside to cover administrative costs.

“Therefore, approximately $4.4 million will be made available for distribution to class members — without the class having to incur the considerable delay and risk of seeking relief through continued litigation and trial, as well as any subsequent appeals,” the plaintiffs’ attorneys, led by James P. Ulwick of Kramon & Graham P.A. in Baltimore, wrote in their motion for preliminary approval of the settlement.

The $4.4 million includes up to $20,000 in incentive awards to the four named plaintiffs and four more class members who were deposed in the case last year.    Attorneys for the class also are expected to share a payment of up to $3 million, which is separate from the class members’ recovery.

Best part of the story is Tyson’s explanation:

“Our Raised Without Antibiotics chicken initiative, which we started in 2007, was suspended in 2008 due to labeling challenges,” the spokesman, Gary Mickelson, said in an e-mailed statement this morning.  “While we believe our company acted appropriately, we also believe it makes sense for us to resolve this legal matter and move on.”

Labelling challenges? What does that mean?

Tyson’s chickens are given feed laced with ionophores, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture classifies as antibiotics. Ionophores fight a widespread intestinal disease in poultry but, according to Tyson, do not affect human resistance to antibiotics.

That’s like blaming your driver when you hit a slice into the woods.

[HT: The Daily Record]