CHICAGO (CN) – Law students who took the bar last week demand a refund, claiming the software that handles online bar exam submissions for multiple states suffered a technical meltdown and left them unable to timely submit the written portion of their exams.
Michael Casner, Stanley Constantine and Sean Whatley sued ExamSoft Worldwide on Tuesday in Cook County Court.
The plaintiffs sat for the bar exam in July. The first day of the exam, July 29, consisted of a series of essay questions that take approximately six hours.
To type the essays with a computer, rather than writing them longhand, test takers must pay a $100-$150 fee for ExamSoft’s test-taking software.
The software allows test-takers to use their own laptops by turning off all other features of the computer, such as the ability to access notes or use the Internet. At the end of the testing period, it requires test takers to upload their essays to a server without any further changes.
But “ExamSoft was inexplicably unprepared for the volume of bar exams being uploaded to its servers following the first day of the July 2014 test,” according to the complaint. “As a result, it could not confirm that test-takers’ typed exams had been properly and timely submitted. This on the eve of the second day of the bar exam (the multistate exam). Instead of relaxing, doing a last minute review, or going to bed early, many bar applicants were stuck dealing with ExamSoft’s technical glitch on the night before the second day of the most important exam of their lives,” the lawsuit states.
Many people who tried to upload their exam were met with the error message, “Attention! Your answer file(s) did not upload,” and spent the whole night frantically trying to contact ExamSoft’s customer service, only to be met with a busy signal.
“In light of the foregoing problems, many test-takers requested refunds of the $100 to $150 they paid to ExamSoft to use its software.
“To date, however, ExamSoft has refused to provide any test-takers with a refund. A representative message sent to one test taker from ExamSoft’s customer service team stated the following: ‘Thank you for contacting ExamSoft. We deeply apologize for the inconvenience had happened Tuesday night. However, when paying and registering Softest on your computer you agreed to a disclaimer which indicated that there are no refunds. Again, I am really sorry. Please let me know if you have any further questions,'” according to the complaint.
Seventeen state bar associations announced deadline extensions so that people who could not submit their exams on July 29 would not be penalized, Pepperdine Law School Professor Paul Caron wrote on his TaxProf Blog.
The test-takers seek punitive damages for fraud, breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
They are represented by Lori Fanning with Miller Law.
A similar class action was filed Tuesday in Spokane, Wash. Federal Court.
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