Jury Verdict: $11 Million Final Judgment Against Star Career Academy

In October 2015 Tom Marrone won a jury verdict and an $11 million final judgment after a 5 week Class Action jury trial against Star Career Academy, a New Jersey for-profit school, under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (“CFA”). The jury found that Star committed Consumer Fraud by engaging in unconscionable commercial practices, concealing material facts, and/or misrepresenting material facts regarding the accreditation status of Star’s Surgical Technology Program. The class includes more than 1000 students.

Polanco v. Star Career Academy is a consumer fraud class action against an occupational school on behalf of those seeking certification as surgical technicians. The suit contended that Star Career Academy, which is based in New Jersey and has several campuses in the state as well as in neighboring states, continued to offer a surgical technology program even after the certificate earned in that program became largely unacceptable by employing hospitals due to a 2011 change in the law.  The suit alleged that Star made misrepresentations in its externship and job information and statistics, and failed to advise students about the issues with the program certificate leading up and after the 2011 law change — all in violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (CFA).

The suit, filed in 2013, claimed as damages the sums paid for enrollment in the program. A class, consisting of anyone enrolled as of June 2011 or after, was certified last year, according to the lawyers.

After a five-week trial before Camden County Superior Court Judge Anthony Pugliese, the jury on Oct. 29 found that Star had violated the CFA.

Case:  Polanco v. Star Career Academy