Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Western Michigan-Cooley Law School Seeks TRO To Prevent ABA From Releasing A Letter About Its Accreditation Status

Thomas Cooley Logo (2014)Following up on my previous post, ABA Notices To Law Schools About Potential Non-Compliance With Accreditation Standards:  Western Michigan University Cooley Law School has filed a  Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction seeking to prevent the ABA from publishing a letter concerning Cooley's accreditation status during "the most critical time for students selecting their law school":

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65 and Local Civil Rule 7.2, Plaintiff Thomas M. Cooley Law School moves for a temporary restraining order against the Defendant, the American Bar Association (“ABA”). The ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, through its Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, has informed Cooley that it intends to publish and disseminate a letter on November 14, 2017 pertaining to proceedings related to Cooley’s accreditation as an accredited law school. ABA purports to publish the letter “in accordance with U.S. Department of Education regulation 34 C.F.R. § 602.26.” However, that section provides authorization for disclosing “final decisions” to take “adverse actions” against an institution. Nothing of the sort is present in the ABA’s letter and permitting the ABA’s letter to be published now, in the middle of the most critical time for students selecting their law school, poses an unreasonable high risk of immediate and irreparable harm to Cooley going forward. 

Brief in Support of Motion For Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction:

Statement of Questions Presented

I.  Does 34 C.F.R. § 602.26 authorize the ABA to publish or disseminate a Letter to an accredited school which does not announce a “final decision” but merely requests more information from that accredited school prior to making its “final decision?”

Cooley answers: No.

II.  Should a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction issue to enjoin the ABA from publishing and disseminating a Letter purportedly under the authority of 34 C.F.R. § 602.26 which does not announce a “decision” or “final decision” within the meaning of that regulation?

Cooley answers: Yes.


(Hat Tip:  Jacob Gershman.)

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