Class Action Lawsuit Against Temple for False Rankings

This action has been brought as a class action against Temple pursuant to the provisions of Rule 23 of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure. The complaint seeks to represent the following putative members in this class action:

All persons who enrolled as students in Temple’s Fox School of Business and Management’s Online MBA program, between January 1, 2015 and the present.

The class action lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, compensatory, consequential, punitive damages and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs for Temple’s deceptive and unfair business practices, against Temple University for violations of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (“CPL”), Act of December 16, 1968, P.L. 1224, as amended, 73 P.S. §§201.1—201-9.3.

A student enrolled at Temple’s Fox School of Business and Management’s online MBA Program alleges Temple’s Online MBA program of deceptive acts by representing to U.S. News and other educational ranking services that its Online MBA program possessed certain characteristics, qualifications, requirements, benefits, and levels of attainment that did not exist. The complaint alleges not only did Temple falsify their reporting but also engaged in unfair methods of competition causing an increase in their prospective applicants and/or active students to enroll in their Online MBA programs.

Online MBA programs only have a few prestigious rankings authorities, and among the most respected educational rankings industry is the U.S. News & World Report – Best Online MBA Programs Ranking. Inflated rankings may lead to additional revenue for the program, but ultimately leads to diminished job opportunities for the enrollees when the value of the degree diminishes.

Fox School of Business and Management’s online MBA Program allegedly significantly overstated the number of new entrants for its 2016-2017 class who submitted GMAT scores. According to the complaint, Fox School of Business and Management’s online MBA Program inflated ranking provided significant leverage to enable the school to increase enrollment in its Online MBA offering. In fact, in 2017 alone, Temple was able to increase its online MBA enrollment by 57% to 546 students from 351, one of the largest percentage increases of any online MBA offering that year.

Shortly after the release of the 2018 Best Online MBA Programs rankings, Temple allegedly notified U.S. News that it had misreported data used to calculate the Best Online MBA Programs and voluntarily withdraw the school from its forthcoming rankings on their website. On January 24, 2018, U.S. News removed Temple’s Fox School of Business and Management’s online MBA Program to the “Unranked” category in the rankings. Schools in the unranked category do not receive numerical ranks from U.S. News.

Recruiters say most employers are often more critical of online, for-profit schools than of online programs offered by nonprofit schools and ratings of the schools play a factor in hiring according to the complaint.

This was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, as Case No. 2:18-cv-00590-PBT. The Plaintiff is represented by JTB Law Group, LLC.

Case Status (Click on links for more information):

February 12, 2018: The complaint (see Amended Complaint link below) is filed in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and has been assigned to Judge Cynthia M. Rufe.

April 12, 2018: The Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint is filed by the Defendant.

May 10, 2018: The Amended Complaint is filed by the Plaintiff.

May 14, 2018: The Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint is Dismissed as Moot by Judge Cynthia M. Rufe.

July 2, 2018: The Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint is filed by the Plaintiff.

 

If you have any information regarding the allegations in the complaint, please contact the JTB Law Group at angie.rosario@jtblawgroup.com

Temple University