The U.S. Department of Education (“Department”) announced new guidance to assist institutions of higher education with the use of their Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (“HEERF”) grants. These HEERF funds were authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) in April 2020 (“HEERF I”); the Coronavirus...Read More
Maynard Cooper offers experienced and full-service representation of institutions of higher education in the for-profit sector. With vast experience in litigation, labor and employment, real estate, tax, and government regulation and enforcement actions, Maynard Cooper is able to offer its clients in the for-profit industry a complete range of services. The firm’s higher education practice is national in scope as our attorneys have arbitrated, litigated, and represented educational institutions throughout the country, including Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona, California, Utah, and Massachusetts. The firm regularly represents proprietary educational institutions in a variety of litigation matters in state court, federal court, and arbitration. A large portion of our practice also focuses on the representation of these institutions in all types of real estate transactions. The firm’s higher education practice covers a broad range of subjects including the following:
- Consumer Fraud
- Class Actions
- General Litigation
- False Claims Act/Qui Tam
- Accreditation Issues
- Arbitration Enforcement
- Wrongful Termination
- Internal Investigations
- Real Estate Acquisitions and Leasing
- Wage and Hour Disputes
- Government Regulation and Enforcement Actions
- Business and Vendor Disputes
Representative matters include:
- Won the dismissal of student’s federal claims under the Higher Education Act, as well as the dismissal of student’s class action claims, while the student’s remaining individual state law claims were successfully compelled to arbitration. Also successfully defended student’s appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Natifracuria Daniels v. Virginia College at Jackson, et al, No. 3:11-CV-496 (S.D. Miss. Nov. 29, 2011) (aff’d Daniels v. Va. College at Jackson, 478 Fed. Appx. 892 (5th Cir. 2012)).
- Obtained dismissal of class action claims in a case where the students’ claims against a for-profit educational institution were successfully compelled to arbitration and the court ruled that the students waived class action adjudication pursuant to the arbitration provision. Asbell v. Education Affiliates, Inc., et al., No. 3:12-CV-00579 (M.D. Tenn. April 25, 2013).
- Won an appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court, in a 9-0 decision, whereby the Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s order granting the students’ motion to invalidate the college’s arbitration provision. Va. College, LLC v. Blackmon, 109 So. 3d 1050 (Miss. 2013).
- Successfully defended an appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court of the trial court’s order grating our motion to compel the student’s claims to arbitration. Shalundia Dixon, et al. v. Virginia College, No. 2011-195 (Cir. Ct. Mobile County Ala. May 13, 2011) (aff’d Shalundia Dixon, et al. v. Virginia College, No. 1101156 (Ala. May 30, 2012).
- In both federal and state courts, successfully obtained orders enforcing college’s arbitration provision and, thereby, compelling students’ claims to arbitration. Anderson v. Va. College, LLC, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130619 (S.D. Miss. Sept. 13, 2012); Brittany Davis, et al. v. Virginia College of Jackson MS, et al., No. 3:12-CV-510 (S.D. Miss. Aug. 21, 2012); Francisco Rodriguez v. Virginia College, LLC, No. 13083854-S-00 (Magis. Cr. Bibb County Ga. Sept. 23, 2013); Shirley Hughes v. Virginia College, et al., No. 13 GS 2986 (Gen. Sessions Ct. Hamilton County Tenn. Apr. 15, 2013); Kimberly Moore, et al. v. Virginia College of Jackson, et al., No. 251-06-408CIV (Cir. Ct. Hinds County Miss. July 21, 2009); Phillip J. Shelnut, et al. v. Virginia College, L.L.C., et al., No. CV-2007-902009 (Cir. Ct. Jefferson County Ala. Oct. 14, 2008).
- Won a motion to exclude the testimony and strike the reports of two expert witnesses. Va. College, LLC v. Martin, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178132 (S.D. Miss. Dec. 17, 2012).
- Won summary judgment in race and retaliation suit brought by former Admissions Associate challenging his employment termination and failure to be promoted while employed. Raheem Ali v. Education Corporation of America, No. 4:11-CV-2743-KOB (Northern District Ala. October 31, 2012).
- Won summary judgment in workers compensation retaliatory discharge case before the Circuit Court of Madison County, Alabama. Kimberly Daniel v. Virginia College, LLC CV No. CV12-77 (January 28, 2013)
- Defended and resolved on very favorable terms False Claims Act/Qui Tam and employment claims brought by two former admissions associates. United States of America ex rel. Larry Sailes & Darrell Webb, CV 2:12 CV 807-MHT (Middle District of Alabama); Webb v. Virginia College, CV 2:13-CV-342-VEH (Northern District of Ala.)
- Helped clients structure transactions and develop school facilities in highly visible retail centers, while overcoming title restrictions that prohibit educational use, injunctions filed to prohibit the development of the school and the unforeseen insolvency of various landlords.
- Helped clients develop over thirty build-to-suit school facilities nationwide, while structuring the lease transactions to minimize their impact on the client’s balance sheets for purposes of applicable federal financial stability ratios.