Irate Fulmination Against California Bar
LOS ANGELES (CN) - The Southern California Institute of Law accuses The State Bar of California of using its "hostile, retaliatory and discriminatory truncheons of power to try browbeating [it] into docile subservience and submission," in a feisty, and lengthy, lawsuit in Superior Court.
The plaintiff is a night school founded in 1986.
It accuses the Bar of exceeding its powers.
In February, the school sued 22 members and former members of the California Committee of Bar Examiners, alleging civil rights violations, in Federal Court .
The school in that lawsuit challenged new rules that could have cost it its accreditation if fewer than 40 percent of its students could pass the Bar exam.
That lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice. The school claimed that the Bar Examiner's demand that it publish its graduates' Bar exam passage rates was unconstitutional, compelled speech.
But U.S. District Judge James Selna wrote, in granting dismissal: "Contrary to SCIL's assertion that the disclosure is not 'a purely factual matter' because the statistics are 'highly controversial' and reflect an 'ideological belief that a law school should be judged by the passage rates of its graduates' (Opposition, at 14-15), ALS Guideline 2.3(D)(i)-(ii) mandates no compelled recitation of any message about the validity of passage rates as a measure of institutional quality. Nothing in its language references ALS Guideline 12.1, which sets standards for CALS' passage rates. SCIL does not claim such language is on the State Bar's 'Statistics' webpage, either. Thus, on its face, the information is factual and uncontroversial. Prospective students are free to draw their own conclusions about its relevance. That SCIL may not like those conclusions is irrelevant."
The website Abovethelaw.com, which published Selna's ruling in August, reported that just 7 percent of SCIL graduates had passed the Bar exam in the previous 5 years.
In the new lawsuit, the SCIL claims the Bar retaliated against it for filing the first lawsuit, and did it by "a selective enforcement of accreditation standards."
It claims: "This complaint emphatically has nothing to do with the specific Bar pass rates of any particular law school among the CALS [California Accredited Law Schools] or with plaintiff SCIL's Bar pass rates. This case is about the limits of state power and the application of state procedural and substantive due process, as well as accountability for the malicious misuse and abuse of governmental powers. ... This complaint alleges that senior staff and members of the CBE violated due process and did so with venal intent.
"Unconstrained by constitutional limitation, these regulators believing they are shielded by absolute immunity fashioned their quasi-judicial writ into hostile, retaliatory and discriminatory truncheons of power to try browbeating into docile subservience and submission a small California-accredited law school that caters to a diverse demographic and to mostly low-middle income students."
It alleges "a denial of procedural due process instigated by malevolent motive ... brazen attempts to mislead a retired state Appellate Court justice and the willful omission of a written dissent in an Accreditation Report of SCIL."
It demands damages for constitutional violations, retaliation, constitutional torts, malfeasance, and injunctive relief.
It is represented by Evan Hess of Beverly Hills.