Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Fun With Refunds, Part II.

Lawyers and law students, feeling overcharged by your bar exam or LSAT prep course?

Here's a class action you might be interested in. According to BusinessWire, "More than 300,000 lawyers and law students were each charged an estimated $1,000 extra for bar review courses, according to a complaint filed against BAR/BRI bar review and The West Publishing Corporation and Kaplan, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California....

"West Publishing Corp., dba BAR/BRI, and Kaplan are joined as defendants in a class action lawsuit accusing the two companies of illegally dividing the highly lucrative LSAT and bar exam test preparation businesses. According to the complaint, executives of BAR/BRI and Kaplan secretly agreed to a per se illegal market division.

"BAR/BRI agreed to close its Law School Aptitude Test (LSAT) preparation course from the market in which Kaplan was the dominant competitor. Kaplan, in turn, agreed not to enter the full-service bar review business, in which BAR/BRI was the dominant competitor. The two companies then entered into an agreement to work together 'strategically' to enhance Kaplan's share of the LSAT market and to increase BAR/BRI's control of the bar review market.

"The complaint further alleges that at the time this agreement was entered into, Kaplan had entered into a letter of intent to acquire bar review materials and begin bar review courses across the country in competition with BAR/BRI. After Kaplan worked out its market division arrangement with BAR/BRI, it unilaterally terminated that agreement and abandoned all plans to compete against BAR/BRI. As a result, competition has been dramatically reduced, and law students and lawyers have overpaid substantially for their bar review courses ever since.

"The 'name plaintiffs' Ryan Rodriguez and Reena B. Frailich are suing on behalf of about 300,000 law students and attorneys to recover damages of some $300 million, plus costs."

(HT: The Southern California Law Blog.)

Eliot Disner is the lead attorney representing the plaintiffs. As a personal aside, Mr. Disner and I worked together defending an antitrust case several years ago. He knows his stuff, as they say.

UPDATE: I've updated this story here and here, with a link to the complaint and some exclusive information, respectively.