Federal appeals court upholds Cooley jobs reporting practices

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on July 30 affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by several graduates of Thomas M. Cooley Law School, who had claimed the law school misrepresented the percentage of its graduates who obtain legal employment after graduation.

The Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court that the plaintiffs could not prove Cooley's reported employment statistics were false because the numbers Cooley reported were instead literally true.

In its opinion, the Court held that, "because the Michigan Consumer Protection Act does not apply to this case's facts, because the graduates' complaint shows that one of the statistics on which they relied was objectively true, and because their reliance on the statistics was unreasonable, we AFFIRM the district court's judgment dismissing their complaint for failure to state any claim upon which it could grant relief."

The Sixth Circuit, like the U.S. District Court that dismissed the case in July 2012, was required to assume the plaintiffs' allegations were all true, and held that the case had no legal merit anyway. Had the lower court dismissal been overturned on appeal, the plaintiffs would have been required to prove their allegations were true, a legal hurdle they had not yet met in the case.

"From its start," noted Don LeDuc, Cooley's President and Dean, "this case, and others like it, has been nothing more than a misguided crusade, brought by lawyers who had to search for their clients on social media, to shift blame onto law schools for the difficulty of finding jobs in a recessionary economy. And yet the legal profession always has been, and remains, one of the most resilient professions with one of the lowest unemployment rates of any profession."

The case is titled John MacDonald, Jr., et al. v. Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Does 1-20.

Published: Thu, Aug 1, 2013

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