PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – A group that recruits Chinese students for private Christian schools in the United States claims a school in Oregon backed out of its contract and defamed the recruiter to other Christian schools, costing it more than $1 million in lost profits and reputation.
United Students Association, a Texas corporation, sued Salem Christian Academy Christian Schools and Randy Caruthers for defamation, breach of contract and intentional interference with contract, in Multnomah County Court.
(Caruthers’ name is spelled Carruthers on the Salem Academy website and on his Facebook page.
(Also, although the plaintiff is identified as United Students Association Inc., all the allegations in the complaint refer to USA Program, “a Christian Organization that assists international students to study abroad in the United States at private Christian schools,” and USA Program’s principal, Moacir Rodrigues, neither of which are listed as parties in the header of the complaint.
(The complaint does not explain the presumed institutional relationship between the United Students Association and the USA Program, though they appear to be identical.)
USA Program, “through Rodrigues,” invited representatives of 17 U.S. Christian schools, including the defendant, on a recruiting trip to China in February this year, according to the complaint.
“The schools met with 189 potential Chinese students in the cities of Tianjin, Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hangzhou,” the complaint states. “The trip was a wild success.”
Salem Academy “selected 30 for placement of the first 15 available at Salem Academy,” according to the complaint. (Again, the complaint does not elucidate; apparently the school did not expect all its recruits to sign up.)
But the complaint states: “After forming the contract, Salem Academy changed its mind and attempted to get out of the contract in early March.”
Then, the complaint continues: “Salem Academy, through Randy Caruthers, commenced a defamatory campaign against USA Program and Moacir Rodrigues. Caruthers sent a number of false and defamatory emails to other schools that went on the China trip, all aimed at impugning the credibility of USA Program and Rodrigues. Ultimately, Salem Academy and every other school refused to sign up any students from the trip.”
United Students seeks $500,000 for defamation, $500,000 for interference with contract, and $250,000 for breach of contract claim.
It is represented by Phil Nelson and Nicholas Slinde with Slinde Nelson.