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Florida Coastal’s Motion for Temporary Restraining Order against ABA Denied
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Florida Coastal

Summary: Florida Coastal School of Law will not get their temporary restraining order against the American Bar Association, but their case will move quickly.

In an effort to stall actions against them, Florida Coastal School of Law filed for a temporary restraining order against the American Bar Association. A federal judge turned down their request, which means the law school will be required to make public disclosures about its accreditation status and bar pass rates, according to Law.com.

  
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Judge Brian Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida declined to issue the order. He ruled that the ABA needs an opportunity to respond to the arguments from the law school and its owner InfiLaw Corp. that the disclosures are misleading and undermine their efforts to recruit more qualified students. Florida Coastal needs qualified candidates to continue boosting their bar pass rates.

Davis wrote, “While time is certainly short and the risk of harm potentially imminent, Plaintiffs have failed to make a showing that Defendants should not be provided notice and an opportunity to respond before the Court makes it decision on the merits.”

Florida Coastal can still fight the ABA and the requirement they set for the law school to inform current students of recent bar pass rates by July 2. The rates are to be broken down into quartiles and which quartile each student is in according to their grades. The school’s pass rate has struggled, hovering between 25 and 50 percent in the past couple years but made a big jump to 62 percent from the February exam.

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Davis is moving for quick action, setting a hearing for June 29, giving three days for the issue to be addressed before Florida Coastal is set to disclose the figures. The ABA has until June 25 to file a motion.

InfiLaw’s attorney Chris Bartolomucci, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, said, “Florida Coastal is very pleased that the court is expediting its motion for preliminary injunction, has ordered the ABA to respond to the motion by next week, and set a hearing for June 29. Because of the expedition of the preliminary injunction motion, the requested TRO is not necessary.”



Florida Coastal originally filed the motion for a TRO and preliminary injunction on June 15. They wanted relief from the court on the reporting requirements imposed by the ABA in April. The law school also has a lawsuit pending against the accrediting body. Florida claims the ABA violated their due process and that their accreditation standards are vague and unfairly enforced.

This latest legal action against the ABA alleges that the required bar pass disclosure is misleading because the rates are from previous graduates with lower academic credentials than the current students. The law school has already raised their minimum Law School Admission Test score and undergraduate grade-point average requirements. Current students are situated for better results on the bar exam than previous students, according to the motion. The school fears that releasing the old data will hurt their efforts to keep attracting qualified applicants that will further help the pass rates increase.

Do you think the ABA targeted the InfiLaw schools? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about the InfiLaw battle with the ABA, read these articles:

Photo: fcsl.edu



 

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