Feb 29 (Reuters) - Florida Coastal School of Law
has removed a class-action lawsuit accusing it of fudging data
on graduate job prospects to federal court from a Florida state
The lawsuit, brought by six graduates of the law school on
Feb. 1, was originally filed in state court in Miami-Dade
County. Florida Coastal, which is based in Jacksonville,
filed a notice of removal to change the venue to federal
court. On Monday the case was assigned to Judge Marcia Cooke in
U.S. District Court in Miami.
The Florida Coastal case is one of 15 lawsuits filed in the
last year by dozens of graduates of U.S. law schools who say the
schools lured them into enrolling based on a rose-tinted picture of the job market for graduates. All but two of the lawsuits
were filed in state courts across the United States. So far,
Florida Coastal is the only defendant law school that requested
that its case be moved to federal court.
In a court filing, Florida Coastal argued that the case
should be moved to federal court because it meets the
requirements of the 2005 Class Action Fairness Act, which
expanded federal jurisdiction over large class-action lawsuits.
The case is a civil action in which the disputed amount exceeds
$5 million, filed on behalf of class members who are citizens of
different states, Florida Coastal argued.
Manuel Rodriguez of Concepcion Martinez & Bellido, an
attorney for the plaintiffs, said he plans to dispute the
decision by filing a motion to remand the case back to state
"Once you federalize the case, you have distant courts
deciding local issues," Rodriguez said. "I don't think that
(Florida Coastal) is legally correct in its argument. It's a
matter of interpretation, and obviously up to judge to decide."
State courts are often seen as more hospitable to plaintiffs
than federal courts.
An attorney for Florida Coastal School of Law could not be
reached on Wednesday.
Like the other law school lawsuits, the complaint against
Florida Coastal argues that the law school intentionally made
misleading statements to recruit more students.
Florida Coastal reported between 80 and 95 percent of its
graduates secured employment within nine months of graduation,
according to the complaint. The numbers are misleading because
they include any type of employment, including jobs outside the
legal industry, the complaint said.
The case is Taylor Casey et al., on behalf of themselves and
all others similarly situated, v. Florida Coastal School of Law,
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, Miami
Division, Case No. 1:12-cv-20785-MGC
For the plaintiffs: Manuel A. Rodriguez of Concepcion
Martinez & Bellido
For the defendants: Herman Russomanno of Russomanno &
(Reporting by Moira Herbst)
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