A lawsuit filed three years ago by three former Chapman University professors on behalf of the government [see "Litigating it Old School" Aug, 3] was dismissed by United States District Court for the Central District of California Oct. 22. The case was scheduled to begin a civil jury trial in two weeks.
Alleging that Chapman shortchanged its students and taxpayers by ignoring classroom hour requirements at its satellite campuses, the plaintiffs filed a sealed complaint in 2004 on behalf of the United States government under an 1863 law known colloquially as Lincoln’s Law, and sought damages that could have potentially amounted to a quarter of a billion dollars.
Chapman University, which until now has been fairly quiet about the case, issued a press release today with a quote from Gary Brahm, Chancellor of Chapman University College, which is Chapman's system of satellite campuses that were the subject of the suit.
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Chapman has maintained from the outset of this case that these claims were completely without merit. The court’s decision reaffirms the propriety of our conduct, and we are grateful the court has recognized that a trial is unnecessary. We can now redirect the resources we had diverted to defending this baseless claim to the university’s mission of providing an outstanding education to its students.
Daniel Bartley, attorney for the plaintiffs – known as "relators" in this type of lawsuit – says he believes Judge Phillip Gutierrez was wrong, partially based on the alleged misinformation Chapman was giving to it's accreditor, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges [see "Who Watches the Watchdog" Sept. 28]
This case, like the prior similar higher education cases before it, will be appealed. We expect the decision of Judge Gutierrez, to be reversed, Bartley said.