The Legal Fight For Charlotte Law Continues
For-profit law school consortium, InfiLaw, has notched a small victory amidst the messy fallout from the closure of Charlotte Law School.
Law.com reports that federal Judge Roy Dalton Jr granted InfiLaw’s motion to dismiss a qui tam suit filed by a former Charlotte School of Law professor, who alleges that Charlotte Law and InfiLaw defrauded the federal government of millions through its eased admission practices.
In her 2016 suit, former Charlotte School of Law professor Barbara Bernier contended how Charlotte Law knowingly accepted unqualified students, costing the federal government more than $285 million through government-issued loans.
“Basically, InfiLaw’s schools charged students a pretty penny to attend—on the Government’s dime—but the students and the Government didn’t get any bang for their buck,” Judge Dalton writes in his decision.
The Dismissed Suit Doesn’t Mean InfiLaw Has Won
Bernier’s suit was dismissed because, according to Judge Dalton’s ruling, InfiLaw’s admissions issues had already been publically disclosed in the form of news stories and law faculty blog posts prior to Bernier filing her suit.
Despite dismissing Bernier’s suit, Judge Dalton has granted her leave to file an amended complaint on a narrower set of issues, Law.com reports.
Colman Watson, Bernier’s attorney, tells Law.com that Bernier intends to push forward with claims under the decision’s set parameters. Watson says that despite the suit being dismissed, he doesn’t see this as a victory for InfiLaw.
“A good way to think about the decision is that our initial amended complaint was one square mile,” Watson tells Law.com. “The judge has cut it down now to about 500 square feet. It doesn’t mean we don’t have a path forward. I don’t think it’s a win for InfiLaw. The suit’s not over.”
Charlotte Law Was Second Law School to Close in 2017
Following probation by the American Bar Association in November 2016, Charlotte Law had struggled from tumbling enrollment and eventually closed its doors In August 2017 – becoming the second accredited law school to close that year following Whittier Law School’s closure.
Between 2010 and 2016, Charlotte Law had received $337.1 million dollars from tuition and student living revenues from federal student loans, according to Law School Transparency. Just before its probation by the ABA, the law school had roughly 700 students enrolled, The New York Times reports
“While good lawyers have graduated from Charlotte School of Law, the school too often failed to deliver for its students.” Josh Stein, the attorney general, tells The New York Times. “Charlotte School of Law told students they would be ‘ready to practice upon graduation,’ but fewer than one in five incoming students of the Class of 2016 graduated, passed the bar and got a job that required the degree for which they spent more than $100,000.”