Yesterday, Judge Baldwin issued his decision allowing the consumer fraud case against Western Culinary Institute to go forward as a class action. It’s a long opinion that focuses on the details of class action rules, but it also provides information on what the students claim in the case. I’ve uploaded a pdf scan of the court’s letter opinion here: Judge Baldwin ltr opinion class cert 3 Dec 2009
This is a big victory for former students of the school. Now the case will move forward as a class action.
A few things to understand about Judge Baldwin’s ruling. He certified only the Unlawful Trade Practice Act and common law fraud claims. He denied certification on the breach of contract and unjust enrichment claims. What that means is that the class action will be limited to students who were enrolled at the Portland campus of Western Culinary Institute on or after March 2006. Students who graduated before March 2006 are not eligible to participate in the class action.
The other thing is that Judge Baldwin’s ruling isn’t a decision on the merits of the case. All that he been decided is that the students may pursue the case as a class action. It will be up to a Multnomah County jury to decide the issues at a trial that will be scheduled sometime down the road.
The next steps include getting a signed order and then starting the process of giving notice to the class. If you have not been in touch with us and you’re a former WCI student who wants more information, please feel free to contact me using the links here.