Saturday, June 9, 2018
Law.com, Defending For-Profit Law School Suits, ABA Pushes for Multidistrict Litigation:
The American Bar Association has asked a federal panel to consolidate three accreditation lawsuits filed against it last month by InfiLaw and its for-profit law schools.
The suits, focused on the ABA’s sanctions against Florida Coastal School of Law, the now-closed Charlotte School of Law, and Arizona Summit Law School, raise nearly identical issues, according to a motion filed May 30 by the ABA to the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. Allowing the suits to proceed independently risks district courts reaching inconsistent rulings on how the ABA accredits law schools, according to the motion. That, in turn, would throw the ABA’s accreditation activities into chaos.
“It makes no sense for the cases to proceed on separate but parallel tracks,” the ABA’s motion reads. “Not only would such duplicative litigation require three federal judges to invest their time and effort in resolving identical pretrial factual and legal questions, but the duplication also presents a very serious risk of inconsistent rulings on those issues.”
But the plaintiffs oppose the consolidation. “Each one of the suits is different and was properly filed in the district where the particular law school is located,” said Kirkland & Ellis partner Chris Bartolomucci, who is representing InfiLaw alongside fellow partners Paul Clement and Viet Dinh. “The motion to transfer is a purely procedural maneuver to which the schools will respond.”