The American Bar Association and NALP are not “indispensible absent parties” to a proposed fraud class action brought by 12 recent graduates against the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist’s June 7 ruling dealt a blow to Cooley’s argument that it was “just following orders” by providing the job figures required by NALP … and the ABA …
“So far, we’re two for two on that,” [Jesse] Strauss said, noting that a New York state trial judge in March rejected a similar argument by New York Law School before dismissing the larger suit. …
In its motion to dismiss, Cooley argued that the plaintiffs’ claims are aimed primarily at the ABA and NALP, and that failing to include those organizations as defendants was ground to dismiss the complaint.
“Plaintiffs ask for an “industry”-wide rewrite of those standards, but fail to name as defendants the very entities whose standards they want the court to rewrite,” Cooley argued in its motion.
Quist disagreed, ruling that the ABA and NALP’s reporting requirements “are a floor, not a ceiling,” and that Cooley could provide employment information beyond what those organization mandate.
“Even though the plaintiffs’ goal may be to fix systemic problems in law school employment data reporting, that goal is not what they seek to accomplish with this particular lawsuit,” Quist wrote. “Plaintiffs seek damages and equitable relief solely from Cooley and its agents.”