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Wednesday, September 7, 2011
AT&T Aftermath: For-Profit College Misleads Potential Students
The Corporate Court's decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion set a dangerous precedent, and is forcing everyday Americans out of the courthouse. AFJ takes a look at some of the cases impacted by the decision.
Case: Bernal v. Burnett
Krystle Bernal enrolled in Westwood College Online’s fashion merchandising program in 2005. In 2010, she and others filed a lawsuit against Westwood based on misrepresentations made in high-pressure sales pitches by “academic counselors,” including the total cost of education at the school, the job and salary expectations for graduates, the accreditation of the school, and the transferability of credits. The school’s enrollment documents, however, contained an arbitration clause with a class action ban. Bernal argued that the nature of the fraud claims and the need for testimony by company insiders made repeated individual trial or arbitration of the case totally impractical. The judge observed that while Concepción dealt “a serious blow to consumer class actions and likely foreclosed the possibility of any recovery for many wronged individuals,” the court was bound by the Supreme Court’s ruling that forced arbitration contracts are valid regardless of public policy implications.
Click here for more on the aftermath of the Court's AT&T decision.