Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Betty Guzman, On Behalf of Herself and All Others Similarly Situated v. Bridgepoint Education

October 19, 2011

BETTY GUZMAN, ON BEHALF OF HERSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED PLAINTIFFS,
v.
BRIDGEPOINT EDUCATION, INC., ASHFORD UNIVERSITY, AND UNIVERSITY OF THE ROCKIES, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hayes, Judge:

ORDER

The matters before the Court are the Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 12) and Motion to Strike (ECF No. 13) filed by Defendants Bridgepoint Education, Inc., Ashford University, and University of the Rockies.

I. Background

On January 12, 2011, Plaintiff Betty Guzman initiated this action by filing the Complaint. (ECF No. 1). On March 15, 2011, Defendants Bridgepoint Education, Inc., Ashford University, and University of the Rockies filed a Motion to Dismiss and a Motion to Strike the Complaint. On April 4, 2011, Plaintiff filed an Opposition to the Motions. On April 11, 2011, Defendants Bridgepoint Education, Inc., Ashford University, and University of the Rockies filed replies.

II. Allegations of the Complaint

Plaintiff proposes a nationwide class action "composed of all persons who enrolled in and/or attended classes at either of the two academic institutions operated by Bridgepoint Education, Inc. ('Bridgepoint' or the 'Company') -- Ashford University ('Ashford') or University of the Rockies ('The Rockies') -- during the period approximately from March 1, 2005 through the present (the 'Class Period')." (ECF No. 1 at ¶ 1).

Plaintiff generally alleges that Bridgepoint, the company that owns and operates Ashford and The Rockies, "engaged in a pattern of improper and unlawful conduct in order to recruit students and over-charge the federal government for federal financial aid." Id. at ¶ 6. Plaintiff contends that Defendants use "standardized, misleading recruitment tactics" including: (a) hiding federal disclosures on their website and requiring students to enroll before accessing the federal disclosures; (b) "misrepresent[ing] the true cost of attendance by falsely claiming that Ashford and The Rockies provide 'some of the lowest cost tuition programs available,' quoting to prospective students false and misleading tuition rates for degree programs, and failing to disclose substantial non-tuition costs such as administrative fees"; (c) misrepresenting the quality of academic instruction; (d) misrepresenting the status of "The Rockies' accreditation with the American Psychological Association ('APA') and ability to qualify students to obtain professional psychology licensure"; (e) misrepresenting employability and earnings potential for graduated students. Id. at ¶ 6(a)-(e). Plaintiff alleges that "[s]tudents relied on these misrepresentations when deciding to enroll ...." Id. at ¶ 8.

Plaintiff alleges that Bridgepoint improperly hides information from prospective students on its website through a "sophisticated - and misleading - tactic" of directing internet search engine results to a "basic site that offers vague and misleading praise for the university and an option to enroll online." Id. at ¶ 48. Plaintiff alleges that "[a]lthough more comprehensive websites exist for both schools, they cannot be easily accessed by prospective students without previously knowing the exact web addresses." Id. Plaintiff alleges that Bridgpoint "misleads students by affirmative misrepresentations or material omissions regarding the true cost of attending its universities, the quality of academic instruction, students' post-graduation employability, and students' needs for federal student loans and their repayment obligations." Id. at ¶ 46. Plaintiff alleges that "Defendants also makes uniform written and scripted oral misrepresentations about the quality, reputation, and marketability of the education earned through the academic programs." Id. at ¶ 58.

Plaintiff allege that Bridgepoint "also expects enrollment advisors to mislead prospective students regarding how much of their degree program will be covered by federal financial assistance." Id. at ¶ 68. Plaintiff alleges that "Bridgepoint provides incentive payments to its enrollment advisors for recruiting and securing student enrollment, and fosters a competitive environment such that an enrollment advisor's success or failure is determined by the number of prospective students the advisor actually enrolls." Id. at ¶ 78.

Plaintiff alleges that Bridgepoint "specifically targets veterans and active duty military personnel...." Id. at ¶ 69. "Bridgepoint's motivation is transparent ... the money Bridgepoint and other for-profit universities receive from veterans via the Post-9/11 GI Bill does not count towards the 90% limit these schools can receive in federal funding." Id. at ¶ 70.

Plaintiff Betty Guzman alleges that she "enrolled in online courses with Ashford in 2006 after speaking with an online enrollment advisor." Id. at ¶ 20. Plaintiff Guzman "completed approximately 20 online courses." Id. Plaintiff Guzman alleges that Ashford claims that she owes them "over $3,600, and refuses to issue her diploma." Id.

Plaintiff asserts claims for (1) breach of contract; (2) breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; (3) violation of California Business and Professions Code section 17200 ("Unfair Competition Law"); (4) violation of California Business and Professions Code section 17500 ("False Advertising Act"); (5) violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act ("CLRA"); and (6) negligent misrepresentation.

III. Standard of Review

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits dismissal for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) provides: "A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain ... a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate where the complaint lacks a cognizable legal theory or ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.