LOS ANGELES, June 17, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On June 12, 2103, highly respected Arbitrator Samuel G. Jackson awarded Anna Berkowitz and her father Martin $217,000 in the first of over 1,000 individual lawsuits to be tried or arbitrated, against Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts® in Pasadena, California (formerly the California School of Culinary Arts) ("CSCA" or "Le Cordon Bleu®"). Arbitrator Jackson found that Le Cordon Bleu®, and its parent company Career Education Corporation (Nasdaq:CECO), committed fraud when they recruited Anna Berkowitz out of high school and convinced her and her father that borrowing almost $40,000 to pay for 8 months of training at the school would make her "a shoe-in" to land a job as a Pastry Chef earning $75,000 a year to start. Arbitrator Jackson awarded the Berkowitzs damages for tuition paid, earnings lost while Anna attended Le Cordon Bleu®, damages for lost opportunity for the months Anna unsuccessfully sought employment as a Pastry Chef after graduating from Le Cordon Bleu®, damages for emotional distress and attorneys' fees. Kirtland & Packard first filed this lawsuit in 2008 in the Los Angeles Superior Court.
"We have maintained since this mass lawsuit was started in 2008, that many thousands of kids were defrauded by defendants' deceptive sales techniques and practices, and that their lies lured unsuspecting kids into a unnecessary debt that in many cases has crushed their life's chances," said lead trial counsel, Michael Louis Kelly of El Segundo, California, who arbitrated this first case. "We are pleased that the Arbitrator found not only the verbal representations made to our client, but also Le Cordon Bleu®'s marketing materials, false and misleading," said Kelly.
Claimants in the cases against Le Cordon Bleu® allege that they were victims of a fraudulent scheme to convince them through deceptive advertising and recruiting practices that if they borrowed $30,000 to $50,000 to attend one of the Le Cordon Bleu® culinary training courses that they would 1) easily find a job as a Chef immediately upon graduation; 2) immediately earn salaries of $40,000 to $80,000; and 3) easily be able to service their loan obligations. Claimants allege that Le Cordon Bleu®, and its parent company, Career Education Corporation knew these representations were false, and further knew that upon graduation the students: 1) would still have to work their way up the culinary ladder from the bottom; 2) would make no more than $10 to $12 an hour to start and it would take years for them to work their way up to $14-$15 an hour; and 3) it was highly unlikely or impossible that they would be able to service or ever pay off their loans working in the culinary industry.
Michael Louis Kelly is a trial attorney with Kirtland & Packard LLP, a litigation firm with offices in Los Angeles (El Segundo) and San Francisco. The firm handles a variety of complex litigation matters. Mr. Kelly can be contacted through www.CourtroomWarrior.com
Ray E. Gallo is a partner at Gallo LLP, a complex litigation firm with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. www.gallo-law.com.
Arbitrator Jackson's full award is available at www.CourtroomWarrior.com