Sonographers Sue Over Botched Exam Scores

CLEVELAND (CN) – Two healthcare workers who make their living performing diagnostic ultrasounds claim in a federal class action that the organization that awards their professional credentials incorrectly reported that they failed their sonography certification exams.

Lead plaintiffs Stephanie Miller and Mary Alyce Dawson sued Inteleos Inc. – the organization that governs and manages the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, or ARDMS – in Cleveland federal court on Monday, seeking damages for lost wages, lost job opportunities and harm to their professional reputations.

Sonography is a medical imaging technique that uses echoes of high-frequency sound waves to build an image of organs and other body structures.

Like many sonographers, Miller and Dawson were required by their employers to take and pass the sonography certification examination administered by ARDMS to demonstrate their competency.

Both Miller and Dawson passed the exam, but they claim ARDMS scored their tests incorrectly and falsely reported that they had failed.

As a result, Miller and Dawson were taken off of their respective work schedules and forced to wait 60 days before they could retake the exam, according to their lawsuit.

ARDMS recently acknowledged it had experienced a system-wide internal error in the calculation of its exam scores, the lawsuit states.  That internal error allegedly resulted in the false reporting of failing scores for sonographers who took the exam between Sept. 6, 2016 and March 14 of this year.

“Plaintiffs and class members paid a $250 fee to defendant in exchange for defendant’s proper administration and accurate scoring of the exam. Plaintiffs and class members suffered the loss of this fee because they paid for an exam that was improperly scored, and their exam results were inaccurately reported,” the complaint states. “Indeed, because plaintiff Dawson and other class members falsely believed that they had failed the exam, they paid another $250 fee to defendant in order to re-take the exam, even though they had already passed the exam and received no benefit from re-taking the exam.” (Emphasis in original.)

Miller and Dawson seek to represent all sonographers throughout the United States impacted by ARDMS’ actions. They are represented by former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann of the Cleveland-based Dann Law Firm, and by Thomas Zimmerman Jr. of the Chicago-based Zimmerman Law Firm.

“Because it denotes a lack of competency, knowledge and expertise in sonography, there is a serious stigma associated with failure to pass the credentialing examination,” Zimmerman said in a press release on Dann Law Firm’s website.

Miller and Dawson allege breach of contract, negligence, unjust enrichment and violations of the the Maryland Consumer Protection Act, Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act and Ohio Deceptive Trade Practices Act. They say the matter in controversy exceeds $5 million.

ARDMS did not immediately respond Wednesday to a phone call requesting comment on the lawsuit.

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