Suit alleging law school’s misleading post-grad numbers dropped

A $300,000 class-action lawsuit against The Thomas M. Cooley Law School was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist on Friday.

The lawsuit, filed August 2011 by 12 Cooley graduates, alleged they were misled by Cooley’s post-graduate employment reports.

In granting Cooley’s motion to dismiss, Quist noted that while the school’s employment and salary figures were “vague and incomplete,” the students should have relied on more than statistics when making their decision to enroll.

“Plaintiffs and prospective students should have approached their decision to enter into law school with extreme caution given the size of the investment,” Quist wrote. “With red flags waiving and cautionary bells ringing, an ordinary prudent person would not have relied on the statistics to decide to spend $100,000 or more.”

In addition, the graduates alleged fraud and negligent misrepresentation on Cooley’s part, and violated the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.

But Quist said the MCPA applies to “providing goods, property, or service primarily for personal, family or household purposes.” As such, “the MCPA did not apply because the plaintiff purchased the services for a business or commercial purpose,” he wrote.

Besides saying that the plaintiffs unreasonably deduced that the “percentage of graduates employed” statistic included only graduates who were employed in full-time legal positions, Quist wrote that it was unreasonable to believe Cooley’s stated average starting salary of $54,796 represented a figure for all its graduates. That figure represents the average salary of graduates who responded to the school’s survey and chose to reveal their salaries.