Camden, New Jersey, January 4, 2016.
In the wake of a jarring $8.9 million New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (CFA) verdict in favor of over 1000 students against a for-profit school, Class Action lawyer Thomas More Marrone of MOREMARRONE LLC has filed a motion to disgorge the embattled school, Star Career Academy, of an additional $5.5 million the school received from the United States in the form of Education Grants — plus $500,000 in interest on the Grant money. Marrone has also filed a motion to assess an additional several hundred thousand dollars on the verdict under the CFA and a motion for CFA attorney’s fees. The Court is expected to consider these motions in the next several weeks.
On October 29 a Camden County, New Jersey returned a class action verdict against Star Career Academy, a New Jersey for-profit school, under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. The verdict in favor of more than 1000 current and former Surgical Technology Students totaled $8.9 million including treble damages, and came after a 5 week Class Action jury trial. (It was Marrone’s second successful Class Action trial in 11 months – for four days in December 2014 he solo tried a catastrophic apartment fire class action before reaching a $4.75 million settlement.).
The jury found that Star committed Consumer Fraud by engaging in unconscionable commercial practices, concealing material fact, and/or misrepresenting material facts regarding the accreditation status of Star’s Surgical Technology Program. Star will also be required to pay attorney’s fees under the CFA in addition to the $9.2 million, and may be subject to additional equitable remedies under the Consumer Fraud Act.
Thomas More Marrone of MOREMARRONE LLC served as Court-appointed Class Counsel and with co-Class Counsel tried the case to verdict. Under cross-examination at trial, Star’s CEO agreed with Marrone that Star’s Surgical Technology Program did not, in fact, have “program accreditation,” and that it would be “a lie” to say that it did. This testimony contradicted Star’s written statements to New Jersey’s Department of Health and Star’s student body that Star’s Surgical Technology “program” was “accredited.”
After the verdict, Marrone said, “The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act law places ethical responsibilities on the shoulders of corporations like Star Career Academy and its owners. The Jury found that Star violated those responsibilities. It took three years of litigation and five weeks of trial to bring Star to justice, but it was worth it. The Class Members deserve it.”
Speaking about the post-verdict motions, Marrone explained, “This motion should have been completely unnecessary. Star obtained this Federal Grant money during the years the Jury determined Star was engaging in Consumer Fraud. After the verdict Star and its owners should have done the right thing and voluntarily returned the money to the United States Government. We are asking the Court to order Star to do the right thing because Star won’t do the right thing on its own. The fight in this case continues, and I will fight for this Class for as long as it takes.”
About Thomas More Marrone and MOREMARRONE LLC: After an 11 month stretch that included two class action jury trials resulting in a settlement and a verdict combining for well over $15 million, several substantial personal injury recoveries, successful business and employment negotiations, and hundreds of satisfied clients, Tom Marrone has created his multifaceted firm, MoreMarrone LLC.
His mission: to right wrongs. His method: creative thinking, hard work, passion and compassion, and a refusal to quit.
Licensed to practice in the State and Federal courts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, Tom has extensive experience and great success handling difficult, complex cases, especially class actions and collective actions, cases involving personal injury, employment, wage & hour claims, insurance matters, product liability, consumer protection, consumer fraud, deceptive practices, legal malpractice, and wrongful use of civil proceedings.
Tom also advises individuals and businesses on a variety of matters, including crisis prevention and crisis management. A seasoned Class Action trial lawyer, Marrone also offers consultations with other lawyers on Class Action and Complex Litigation theory development, implementation, and trial strategy and tactics.
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