A lawsuit accusing Thomas Jefferson School of Law of inflating post-graduate employment statistics can proceed after a San Diego judge Thursday refused the school's appeal for a dismissal.
Four TJSL graduates are suing the school for allegedly misrepresenting employment data it provided to U.S. News and World Report, specifically employment figures of students nine months after graduation, and are seeking $650,000 in connection with their law school education.
TJSL argued the case should be thrown out because, among other reasons, the claim exceeds the statute of limitations and the named plaintiff, Anna Alaburda, was not injured by the alleged misconduct.
Alaburda, who graduated in 2008, filed the lawsuit May 26, 2011, after reading a New York Times article that suggested many law schools are manipulating employment data. She said she never would have attended TJSL had she known, as she now claims, the school's employment figures were lower than reported.
School officials, however, claim Alaburda was offered full-time employment as an attorney, making $60,000 per year, plus benefits, within nine months of graduating from TJSL.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel Pressman refuted the school's arguments, ruling there is "insufficient evidence" that Alaburda knew about the alleged misrepresentation before the article was published and the alleged injury is independent of employment.
"Consumers' right to make informed, educated decisions when determining an education investment depends upon transparency and accurate information," he wrote in his 10-page order. "To the extent that misrepresentations are made, consumers are injured by enrolling in an institution that is not what it purported to be."
While TJSL said it is disappointed in the ruling, the school noted the decision is not a determination the allegations have any merit, but that it only allows the plaintiffs to proceed with discovery.
"TJSL strongly reaffirms that it has consistently strived to only provide accurate employment statistics in the manner and format required by NALP [the National Association for Law Placement] and the American Bar Association ABA," the school released in a statement. "If a trial is someday necessary, TJLS is confident that a judge or jury will find that TJSL accurately reported its post-graduate employment statistics."
The school claims there is no factual basis for the lawsuit and it will continue to defend against the claims.
1155 Island Ave.
San Diego, CA 92101
July 30, 2012 -- Julie Greenberg, a law professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and a 2012 Top Attorney, talks about the current topic of gender testing in sports.
Feb. 6, 2012 -- Thomas Jefferson School of Law Dean and Transcript 2012 Top Influential Rudy Hasl, talks about the school's new downtown campus and the many benefits it has brought.
Jan. 17, 2011 -- Thomas Jefferson School of Law officially opened its new $90 million downtown campus with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Reporter Carlos Rico tours the new facility.
March 24, 2009 -- The future site of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in the East Village has yielded a “treasure trove” of prehistoric fossil evidence during the past month.