BALTIMORE (CN) – Six students claim in court that the for-profit North American Trade Schools promised its program would allow them to bypass a year of apprenticeship, but learned after graduating that the school was not state-certified, and the promise was bogus.
Lead plaintiff Christopher Perkins claims that the Windsor Mills, Md.-based school and its owner, co-defendant Matthew Daly, misrepresented what the school had to offer-and charged them more than $15,000 apiece for it.
The plaintiffs claim they were told that North American Trade Schools is “a school certified by the State of Maryland that offers training in heating and air-conditioning services such that students who enroll … can become certified as HVAC service technicians. Defendants represented that they operated an educational program that would provide a quality education designed to develop students into licensed professionals that could become certified as heating and air conditioning service technicians. Defendants falsely represented to plaintiffs that if they enroll in defendants’ school, they would receive credit for one year of apprenticeship training for the time they were enrolled in the school.”
The students claim that they each ponied up more than $15,000 for tuition because Daly claimed his school “was highly regarded by employers in the area, and that employers were hiring graduates of defendants’ school because of the school’s good reputation in the State of Maryland. Defendants represented that the school had job placement services, and that defendants would be more likely to be hired upon graduation if they enrolled in defendants’ school due to the high regard employers had for graduates of defendants’ school. Defendants further induced plaintiffs to enroll in their school by falsely representing to plaintiffs they would make lots of money if they enrolled in defendants’ school and obtained certificates for HVAC training.”
But upon graduating, the students say, they applied for licenses but discovered that “the school was not certified by the State of Maryland such that one year of defendants’ educational program would be applied to the apprenticeship requirements to obtain a Maryland’s journeyman license. … As such, … plaintiffs must work for one year longer than represented by defendants, at their lower wage apprenticeship jobs, before they can qualify for a journeyman’s license and earn the higher journeyman’s wages. Moreover, plaintiffs did not easily find work in the field as represented by defendants, and they learned representations made by defendants that they would easily find jobs due to attendance at defendants’ school was false.”
The students seek $900,000 in compensatory damages for fraud, deceptive trade and breach of contract, and $1.8 million in punitive damages.
They are represented by Allan Steinhorn, with Clark and Steinhorn, of Laurel, Md.