ANNAPOLIS, Md. (CN) – Students claim in a class action that the Fila Academy promised they “would make as much in salary as doctors and lawyers” if they graduated from the beauty school, but made them clean toilets and work as sales reps selling Fila products. Eight named plaintiffs say that Larry Fila Jr. charged them as much as $9,995 to go to the school, which Fila falsely claimed to be “connected with Paul Mitchell,” the beauty products manufacturer, which is not a party to the case.
The class seeks punitive damages for fraud, deceptive trade, breach of contract and battery, in Anne Arundel Circuit Court.
The students say they were lured into Fila’s $6,975 “career training in basic barbering, nail technology and skin care therapy,” by Fila’s promises that he “operates an education program in a state-of-the art facility, and that it provides a quality education designed to develop students into licensed professionals.”
However, the class claims, “The defendants failed to inform plaintiffs that they have to purchase their own tools, bring their own customers, and that they must meet a quota for the sales of defendants’ products in order to succeed in the program.”
The students say the academy also lied about having a job placement program. They say the placement program was nothing more than “a board with post-it notes.”
They also claim that Fila also did not provide enough instructors, and that “students are unable to fully perform tasks beyond the core component of the program.”
The class claims that Larry Fila “is notorious amongst the students for being an unprofessional bully who is incapable of respecting the students, and whose intentional and outrageous actions have caused severe emotional distress to plaintiffs.”
One student says the academy wouldn’t let her graduate until she met her sales quota, and told her “she would be charged extra per hour for continuing her education” until she met her quota.
Five students say one skin care instructor was so incompetent that she caused one student’s forehead to be scarred because “she did not appear to know anything about skin allergies to different chemicals.”
The class wants the academy and its owner to pay it $18 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages six counts.
It is represented by Allan Steinhorn of Clark Steinhorn in Beltsville, Maryland.