Class Suits Against Shuttered Law School Consolidated

By Perry Cooper, Bloomberg BNA 

Class actions alleging now-defunct Charlotte School of Law defrauded students by misrepresenting its accreditation status will be combined for pretrial purposes, a federal court said.

“It is hard to imagine a group of cases where consolidation of merits discovery would be more appropriate than the actions herein,” Judge Graham C. Mullen wrote for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.

“All of the actions share substantially overlapping parties, facts, claims, and legal issues,” he said Oct. 13.

The former students alleged the for-profit law school misrepresented its American Bar Association accreditation status and bar passage rates to potential students. The school announced its closure in August.

In addition to these three federal suits, there are at least 20 related state cases involving over 80 individual plaintiffs pending against the school, the court said.

Charlotte Law is one of three law schools to close in the past year. The others are Whittier Law in Costa Mesa, Calif., and Indiana Tech Law in Fort Wayne, Ind. Unlike Charlotte and Indiana Tech, Whittier was fully accredited by the ABA, according to Above the Law.

Shipman & Wright LLP and Martin and Jones PLLC represented the former students.

Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice PLLC and Cooley LLP represent the school.

The case is: Barchiesi v. Charlotte Sch. of Law, LLC, 2017 BL 368202, W.D.N.C., No. 16-861, 10/13/17.

To contact the reporter on this story: Perry Cooper in Washington at pcooper@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at spatrick@bna.com