Friday, September 17, 2021
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Federal Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Closed Mount Ida College


A U.S. federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against the closed Mount Ida College by several of its former students.

Ruling in the favor of the college, Judge Richard Stearns said that school officials did not violate any laws as alleged by the plaintiffs in court filings.

The lawsuit, filed last year by multiple students, alleged the school’s board of trustees of hiding the institution’s poor financial conditions, and for providing sensitive student information to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth prior to the school’s closure.

“Plaintiffs’ allegations fail to establish that the disclosure of their records to UMass Dartmouth was unreasonable as a matter of law,” the court ruling reads. “To the contrary, Mount Ida submitted the records to UMass Dartmouth to facilitate plaintiffs’ enrollment at the successor institution.”

Filed by three former students and funded by philanthropist Bob Hildreth, the suit accused the college of putting students’ careers at stake due to the sudden closure, resulting in a loss of credits.

“Neither Mount Ida nor, correspondingly, the remaining defendants, owed a fiduciary duty to plaintiffs,” the judge ruled. “To the extent that a fiduciary duty was imposed on defendants, it was owed to Mount Ida as a corporate entity.”

Howard M. Cooper, Mount Ida president Barry Brown‘s legal counsel, said that the closure of the college was done in “ethical and legally” appropriate manner.

“These decisions confirm that,” Cooper said in a statement.

President Brown urged lawmakers and regulators to preserve New England colleges that currently remain open.

“Losing these colleges is devastating to the unique benefits that they provide to those students who thrive at institutions which afford close supportive communities of higher education where students from all backgrounds can succeed,” Brown said.

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