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2/10/2020 1:34 PM

20CV07190

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IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE STATE OF OREGON
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FOR MULTNOMAH COUNTY
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Case No.
7 WILLIAM SPAULDING
individually and on behalf CLASS ACTION
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of other similarly situated COMPLAINT FOR
9 Concordia University students EQUITABLE RELIEF

10 Plaintiff Unlawful Trade Practices


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Unjust Enrichment
vs
12 Jury Trial Requested
CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY Filing Fee Authority: ORS 21.135
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Not Subject to Mandatory Arbitration
14 Defendant

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1.
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INTRODUCTION

19 Concordia University misled hundreds of students about its financial


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condition, and collected tuition in 2020 that students would not have paid had the
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students known the truth about Concordia University’s looming closure. Now many
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23 Concordia University students are left unable to graduate and with credits that

24 cannot be directly transferred for credits of equal value at a different university.


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Any student affected by Concordia University’s unlawful trade practices may
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contact UnderdogLawyer.com or call 503-222-2000 to file a claim for a refund of their
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28 2020 tuition.

CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT – Page 1 of 8


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FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS
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The Circuit Court for the County of Multnomah in Oregon has jurisdiction
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6 because the behavior alleged in this complaint took place in and around Multnomah

7 County and because plaintiff’s claim arises under the Oregon Unlawful Trade
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Practices Act, ORS 646.638.
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3.
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11 This complaint’s allegations are based on personal knowledge as to plaintiff’s

12 own behavior and are made on information and belief as to the behavior of others.
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4.
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Plaintiff is a “person” as that term is defined at ORS 646.605(4).
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Concordia University does regular and sustained business in Oregon and is
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registered with the Oregon Secretary of State.
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6.

21 Concordia University is a “person” as that term is defined at ORS 646.605(4).


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7.
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Concordia University regularly advertised and sold educational services and
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25 tuition credits to current and prospective students in the course of its business.

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CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT – Page 2 of 8


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Throughout late 2019 and early 2020 Concordia University advertised and
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sold educational services and tuition credits to plaintiff and other class members to
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6 be used primarily for their personal, family or household purposes. Concordia

7 University advertised itself as a Christian University preparing leaders for the


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transformation of society. Concordia University represented itself to prospective and
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current students as being known for academic excellence as a premier, private
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11 university. Concordia University said that by 2024 “all students of Concordia

12 University-Portland will be actively engaged in a university that enjoys a strong


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national reputation in select programs preparing leaders for the transformation of
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society through educational experiences grounded in relationships and centered in
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16 servant leadership, rigor, and Lutheran identity and values.” Relying on Concordia
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University’s advertisements and representations, plaintiff paid Concordia
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University thousands of dollars for educational services and tuition credits in 2020.
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9.

21 On February 10, 2020 Concordia University admitted to its students for the
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first time that the University was experiencing declining enrollment and financial
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worries and that “finances make it impossible to continue its educational mission”.
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25 Upon information and belief, the high-paid executives at Concordia University knew

26 since 2019 that the University was in dire financial condition and that the
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University’s closure in 2020 was looming.
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CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT – Page 3 of 8


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2 10.
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As alleged in this complaint, Concordia University misrepresented the
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qualities and characteristics of its education services and the value of its tuition
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6 credits to plaintiff and other class members, including misrepresentations by

7 omission. As a result, plaintiff and other class members received education services
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and tuition credits worth less than they would have been worth had Concordia
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University’s representations (including misrepresentations by omission) about its
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11 financial condition been accurate. Plaintiff and other class members would not have

12 paid Concordia University for 2020 tuition credits had they know that the
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University’s closure was looming, leaving them without the ability to graduate and
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with credits, at least a portion of which would not directly transfer to another
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16 university.
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11.
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Concordia University’s behavior as alleged in this complaint willfully and
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recklessly violated ORS 646.608(1) (e), (g), and (t) causing plaintiff and other class

21 members ascertainable loss.


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CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT – Page 4 of 8


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2 12.
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CAUSES OF ACTION
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Claim One – Unlawful Trade Practices
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6 This claim is not a request for damages at this time, only equitable and

7 injunctive relief. Plaintiff and the other class members intend to request damages in
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an amended complaint. As alleged in this complaint, Concordia University’s
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behavior willfully and recklessly violated ORS 646.608, causing plaintiff and other
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11 class members an ascertainable loss. Under ORS 646.638 plaintiff requests an order

12 requiring Concordia University to provide an accounting of the profits it received


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from collecting tuition in 2020, fees, costs, disbursements, and an order requiring
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Concordia University to preserve all documents and information (and electronically
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16 stored information) pertaining to this case.


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CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT – Page 5 of 8


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Claim Two – Unjust Enrichment
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This claim is not a request for damages at this time, only equitable and
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6 injunctive relief. As alleged in this complaint, Concordia University operated a

7 common scheme to profit by misleading students about its financial condition. As a


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matter of justice and equity, Concordia University should not be able to retain the
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unlawful profits it received from the 2020 tuition dollars it collected from plaintiff
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11 and the other class members. Under a theory of unjust enrichment, plaintiff requests

12 an order requiring Concordia University to provide an accounting of the profits it


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received from collecting tuition in 2020, fees, costs, disbursements, and an order
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requiring Concordia University to preserve all documents and information (and
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16 electronically stored information) pertaining to this case.


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14.
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REQUEST FOR JURY TRIAL
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Plaintiff respectfully requests a trial by a jury.

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CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT – Page 6 of 8


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PRAYER FOR RELIEF
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Plaintiff respectfully requests relief against Concordia University as sought
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6 above, and any other relief the Court may deem appropriate, and an order appointing

7 class counsel and an order certifying this case as a class action. Plaintiff reserves
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and right and may intend to amend this complaint to bring a claim against Concordia
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University and its executives for punitive damages.
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February 10, 2020
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RESPECTFULLY FILED,
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s/ Michael Fuller
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Michael Fuller, OSB No. 09357
16 Lead Trial Attorney for Plaintiff
OlsenDaines
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US Bancorp Tower
18 111 SW 5th Ave., Suite 3150
Portland, Oregon 97204
19 michael@underdoglawyer.com
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Direct 503-222-2000

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Ron K. Cheng, OSB No. 142955
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Of Attorneys for Plaintiff
23 Kaplan Law LLC
ron@mdkaplanlaw.com
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Kelly Jones, OSB No. 074217
26 Of Attorneys for Plaintiff
The Law Office of Kelly Jones
27 kellydonovanjones@gmail.com
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CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT – Page 7 of 8


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2 CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
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I certify that I cause this document to be served on:
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5 State of Oregon
6 c/o Oregon Department of Justice
1162 Court St. NE
7 Salem, Oregon 97301-4096
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9 February 10, 2020


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11 /s/ Michael Fuller


Michael Fuller, OSB No. 09357
12 Lead Attorney for Plaintiff
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OlsenDaines
US Bancorp Tower
14 111 SW 5th Ave., Suite 3150
Portland, Oregon 97204
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michael@underdoglawyer.com
16 Direct 503-222-2000
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CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT – Page 8 of 8