Class Action

In August, New York Law School was hit with a class action lawsuit over the school’s allegedly deceptive post-graduate employment data. The suit accused NYLS of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and deceptive business practices. Now, two months later, NYLS is packing some Biglaw heat and moving to dismiss the complaint.

In a case of David v. Goliath, Jesse Strauss and David Anziska, the small-firm lawyers who brought the suit on behalf of the plaintiffs, are now up against the lawyers at Venable, whose motion to dismiss on behalf of NYLS was accompanied by a cutting 25-page memorandum of law.

But why is the NYLS brief so harsh? Because the school argues that the Gomez-Jimenez suit isn’t about the plaintiffs at all, but instead is part of a “crusade” against the American Bar Association….

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Earlier this week, the federal government got some heat for allegedly violating the common man’s electronic privacy by snooping around in email and the like. Today we have a lawsuit from Kentucky accusing a tech company, specifically Facebook, of doing nearly the same thing.

What is going on? It’s almost like there’s no privacy anywhere anymore! (I’m kidding, of course: Privacy completely disappeared years ago.)

The suit, filed by an average Facebook user like you or me (well, most of you are lawyers, so not quite like you), claims a class of 150 million people, and damages of hundreds or thousands of dollars per class member. Exactly what heinous offense has Facebook supposedly committed?

I’m so glad you asked….

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Back in August, we reported that Kurzon Strauss had filed class action lawsuits against Thomas M. Cooley Law School and New York Law School for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and deceptive business practices. And earlier this week, we started to wonder how those cases would be moving forward, because Kurzon Strauss is apparently no more.

That’s right, the law firm that brought us some of the most prolific class action lawsuits of the year has broken up. Breaking up is hard to do, especially when you’ve got major cases like Gomez-Jimenez v. NYLS and MacDonald v. Cooley Law to deal with.

So, what’s a lawyer to do? Apparently the solution is to file fifteen more class action lawsuits against law schools with questionable post-graduate employment data.

Is your law school or alma mater a defendant? Let’s find out….

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* After Anwar al-Awlaki’s death, everyone wants to know if it’s legal to kill American citizens abroad. Well, if Ron Paul is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. [New York Daily News]

* Sullivan & Cromwell and the Mailroom of Death: Harry Potter series reject or SCOTUS-bound appeal? If only there were a spell to make this screw-up disappear. [Washington Post]

* A class action suit alleges that Facebook is secretly tracking its users after they log off. Oh hi, Big Brother. I, for one, welcome our new lanky, douche overlord. [Bloomberg]

* When it comes to Scalia, caring about the coed dorm situation at Catholic University was this “Supreme Court justice’s latest supreme lapse of judgment.” Pure pwnage. [New York Times]

* Jared Lee Loughner is still just a tad too crazy to stand trial. Another four-month stay in a rubber room certainly will make his future insanity defense more believable. [Forbes]

* Hooters is suing Twin Peaks, a rival “breastaurant”, for allegedly stealing trade secrets. Boobs, butts, and booze are trade secrets? I guess that means I can’t open Grand Tetons. [Daily Mail]

* It took SCOTUS more than four hours to write one sentence. But oh, to be a fly on the wall last night when they decided to deny a stay of execution for Troy Davis. [New York Times]

* AT&T wants to take the DOJ’s antitrust case to trial. This must be some sort of a joke, but the only punchline I can think of is the company’s crappy wireless network. [Bloomberg]

* Court-clogger or pocket-stuffer: Andrew Cuomo is debating signing a bill that could put more money into the hands of class action attorneys. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* GW Law ex-adjunct Richard Lieberman was disbarred this week. What is with all of these lawyers who try to seduce minors online? Such a weird casualty of this profession. [National Law Journal]

* Because Chanel No. 399 just doesn’t sound as classy as Chanel No. 5, the company has filed a massive trademark infringement lawsuit against nearly 400 defendants. [ABC News]

* Memo to our readers: You know our exploding car thing was just a caption contest, right? We weren’t anticipating a real life lawyer car bombing. [Forbes]

Eminem is the Jackie Robinson of rap, not some white guy trying to 'steal' black culture.

During my youth, most of the black people I knew called me an “Oreo.” Not because I liked the cookies. Apparently, I was black on the outside (obviously), but “white on the inside.” It took me a while to figure out why, since politically I don’t think I’ve ever shared a majoritarian view of things. But it turns out that simply by “speaking well,” getting good grades, and insisting on keeping my pants high enough to fully cover my ass, I was “acting white” to certain black kids. The fact that I dance for s**t, can’t hit a jump shot to save my life, and have two parents who spent more time in college than prison surely didn’t help my “street cred.”

Of course, age has taught me that I grew up around a lot of low-expectation-having black kids. Black people with self respect wouldn’t consider childhood-Elie an Oreo. A big freaking dork who should never be invited to a party, perhaps, but not an Oreo.

Now, most black people have had similar upbringings to my own (though, sadly, I’m still the most rhythmically challenged black person I know). Nowadays, my black friends say things like, “Elie, you are the only black person I know who could write a post about the Wire and see yourself as the only white guy on the show.” See, that’s not racist. That’s just funny. That black friend (oh, F-U [Redacted], by the way) wasn’t suggesting that I was an Oreo because of how I acted; he was suggesting it because of who I identified with. That’s fair game.

I bring all of this up because that crucial distinction was totally lost on a Minnesota high school. The school allowed “Wigger Day” to happen on campus, and now it is getting sued.

Yeah, apparently turning a blind eye while your students make fun of an entire culture is something that can get you sued….

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Ever since Anna Alaburda sued Thomas Jefferson School of Law over its allegedly misleading employment statistics, we’ve been waiting for TJSL to respond. Today is that day, and the school’s answer does not disappoint.

The school has filed two documents in response to Alaburda’s complaint. We’ve uploaded their demurrer and their motion to strike. They are not long; you should flip through them.

Thomas Jefferson makes a solid defense of itself. But in the process of trying to quash Alaburda’s lawsuit, the school offers some pretty damning admissions that seem to support Alaburda’s underlying moral, if not legal, point…

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We just learned, via the SCOTUSblog liveblog of today’s proceedings at the Supreme Court, that Wal-Mart v. Dukes has been decided. Here is some background about the case, one of the most closely watched of this Term, and here is the opinion of the Court.

Justice Scalia wrote the opinion of the Court, which was joined in its entirety by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito. SCOTUS reversed the Ninth Circuit and held that class action certification should not have been granted in this case, brought on behalf of hundreds of thousands of female Wal-Mart employees who alleged a pattern and practice of pay and promotion discrimination by the giant retailer.

Justice Ginsburg filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, which was joined by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. What did RBG have to say?

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For the most part, I’ve just been happy that the lawsuit against Thomas Jefferson School of Law, over the school’s allegedly misleading employment statistics, exists. It’s not about winning or losing; it’s about raising awareness of the disingenuous way law schools go about filling up their classes.

Of course, anytime somebody says “it’s not about winning or losing,” you can best believe that person expects to lose. I’ve been operating under the assumption that Anna Alaburda, the woman suing TJSL, would get her butt kicked all over the courthouse.

But maybe I am wrong to give up hope for a victory so quickly. Karen Sloan of the National Law Journal has managed to find a couple of lawyers who believe law schools could be in big trouble…

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We mentioned this news last week, but judging from the slew of emails we’ve received about it, many of you want to discuss it at greater length. So let’s talk about it: the class action lawsuit recently filed against Thomas Jefferson School of Law by a 2008 honors graduate of TJSL, Anna Alaburda, alleging that the San Diego-based law school commits fraud, by using misleading post-graduation employment and salary data to attract new students.

The complaint in Alaburda v. TJSL contains counts for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and violations of various California statutes (including laws against unfair business practices and false advertising). Plaintiff Anna Alaburda claims that she racked up more than $150,000 in student loans and can’t find decent legal employment, even though she graduated with honors from TJSL, passed the California bar exam, and sent more than 150 résumés to law firms. She now does document review on a project-by-project basis.

Alaburda’s lawsuit seeks compensatory damages “believed to be in excess of $50,000,000,” punitive damages, and injunctive relief, to stop TJSL from continuing its allegedly unlawful conduct. Alaburda seeks to represent a class consisting of “[a]ll persons who attended TJSL within the statutory period” — a group estimated to contain more than 2,300 individuals.

Let’s take a closer look at this lawsuit — filed by partner Brian Procel of Miller Barondess LLP, a Boalt Hall grad and former Quinn Emanuel associate, incidentally — and consider its possible implications for legal education….

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