State Settles Lawsuit Filed by Former Nursing Students
Jones, Sarah Bruyn, The Roanoke Times (Roanoke, VA)
The state has paid $2.4 million to settle a lawsuit brought by 73 former Virginia Western Community College nursing students who claimed they were misled after the college concealed that it had lost its national nursing accreditation.
The settlement, announced Monday by the plaintiffs' attorneys, comes nearly four and a half years after the lawsuit was first filed against the state and the college seeking about $23 million.
The students, all of whom were enrolled in Virginia Western's nursing program between 2005 and 2007, argued that the school failed to disclose that it was no longer accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. The students said by not having that mark of approval, it tainted their academic record, making it harder to find jobs or seek entrance into advanced degree nursing programs.
Because of the number of students involved in the case, the judge ordered that the plaintiffs be divided into four groups.
In June 2011, the first of the groups headed to trial. After nine days, the jury found in favor of the 16 students and awarded each $47,000 on the issue of fraud. Each student also was awarded $6,800 for breach of contract, except for one student who received $11,500.
The jury verdict "opened up the door to settlement negotiations," said John Fishwick, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs, during a news conference announcing the settlement.
Even then, the two sides spent eight months working out the details of the settlement, he said.
The state did not dictate how the money should be divided among the 73 plaintiffs. …