Hello, In the fall of 2012, I enrolled in pharmacy school (MCPHS) in Massachusetts. After the initial fall semester, I ended up failing a course. Upon failing, I was notified by the dean and other staff members of the school that if I wanted to, I can return to the school the following fall semester. By the way, the fall semester ended around December 14, 2012. After a couple weeks, I decided that I would return to MCPHS, so I filled the necessary paper work the school sent me, and faxed over my contract, that I would be returning in fall of 2012. Since my decision to come back to MCPHS around January, I prepared myself to mentally get ready for school again for the fall semester which was supposed to begin in September 2013, however, just one month before school was to begin, MCPHS, sent me an email and a letter saying, I can no longer come back due to not enough seats being available. I'm not the only one that is not allowed to come back, everyone who failed received the same mail stating they can no longer come back, after the school had told them they were allowed to. Currently, there are ten of us who want to know an approach on how to go about this, however, around 100 have failed within the first two semesters and others may be joining us. My question is, like I mentioned before, how can we approach this situation legally, can one lawyer represent us as a group, can we build a good case against the school, and actually win? We have emails, and voice-mails from members of the school staff asking us if we are returning in the fall. Is it possible if we can get a full refund of our money from the first semester and can we sue them for breach of contract and emotional distress? Personally, I am going through a tough time right now, since the school wasted my time. I could have applied to other schools in the mean time, and now, I have to sit home during the fall semester, and cannot take classes at a local university until the spring semester. Also, can you recommend a lawyer for us around the Massachusetts area , since this is a university we are dealing with. Thank you in advance for any help you can offer.
Hi, My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be assisting you. If I have not Answered your question, please let me know and I will be glad to explain further,
I am sorry to hear that the School of Pharmacy has treated you in such an unprofessional manner,
1. Yes, one lawyer can represent all of the students, if they all are in the same situation and have all received similar assurances that they could re-enter the following fall semester;
2. Your emails and voicemails will be your strongest argument and one of the legal principles upon which you may win your lawsuit is "Detrimental reliance". In other words, you justifiably relied on the School's assurances of your eligibility to re-enter in the following fall semester and in reliance on their assurances, you did not apply to any other pharmacy schools. The fact that they went back on their word cost you one year of your studies;
3. If you are asking whether or not you can receive a full refund for the semester in which you failed, that would be up to the policy which the school has. I do not know of any college or university which refunds a student's money if they failed the semester, but that would be totally up to the school's policy;
4. Contract actions are more "dollars and cents", therefore, if you sued on the grounds of breach of contract, you would not be able to recover emotional distress because emotional distress is not recoverable in contract actions. Emotional distress is only recoverable in tort actions (personal injury);
5. We are not permitted to refer specific attorneys by name, however, you can call the Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service, tell them what your situation is and ask for the name of several Attorneys with experience in litigating issues in Educational Law. Consultations are relatively inexpensive when you go through the Lawyer Referral Service, so speak to as many as you can and then select the one with whom you feel the most comfortable,
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Thank you for the answer, but I'm still left curious on a couple of different points. School starts in about a month, and if we hire a lawyer, a decision will be made after school has started, which of course will be to late, and we will end up losing another year without continuing our education.
1) So, if we file a lawsuit, what exactly can we file for, and what exactly can we sue for? In other words, what can we achieve through all this?
Thank you for your follow up question, Mohammad, and the opportunity to explain further,
You would be suing for, among other grounds, breach of an oral contract on which you justifiably relied to your detriment. I say, "among other grounds" because when the attorney you retain listens to their voicemails and reads their emails and has all the facts before him or her, there might also be other grounds.
Your prayer for relief would request the Judge to Order them to admit you and the rest of the students who are suing the college or university, and if they say that it is too late for the fall semester, then you would also demand monetary damages for having to lose one year of your education which also means that you would delay the practice of your chosen profession by one year,
Please let me know if you need further clarification,
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