Nationwide Class Action Lawsuit Alleges Fraud and RICO Against Grand Canyon University and Grand Canyon Education, Inc. for Enrolling Students in Unaccredited Programs

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A new lawsuit filed by Webb, Klase & Lemond, LLC alleges that Grand Canyon University induces prospective students to enter its professional degree and certificate courses by representing that the programs are fully accredited while, in reality, the programs are not recognized in most states.

Atlanta-based law firm Webb, Klase & Lemond, LLC has filed a class action lawsuit against Grand Canyon University and Grand Canyon Education, Inc. (collectively, “Grand Canyon”) alleging that Grand Canyon induces students to enroll in online professional degree and certificate programs that are not accredited in most states. These programs are primarily in the educational and healthcare fields for which licensure by state agencies is required. Because the Grand Canyon programs are not accredited in the state where the students work, they allege that they cannot gain the needed state license.

The suit alleges Grand Canyon trains its recruiters to misrepresent the accreditation status of the school’s professional programs. The suit further alleges that students are enrolled in a course of study which Grand Canyon knows will not be accepted by the relevant state due to the program’s lack of accreditation. The Class Action Complaint (at Paragraph 80) seeks to certify a nationwide class which is preliminarily defined as follows: "All Grand Canyon University students who have been enrolled in an online professional graduate degree or certificate program that is not accredited in the state where they are employed or, if not employed, where they reside."

The suit alleges that the challenged practice of Grand Canyon University has impacted tens of thousands of online students and brings causes of action for fraud, RICO (the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), misrepresentation, violations of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act, and unjust enrichment.

The case, styled Austin, et al. v. Grand Canyon University, Inc. and Grand Canyon Education, Inc., is pending in the Superior Court of Fulton County in Atlanta, Georgia, and has been given Case No. 4324168. Even though the case has been filed in Georgia, it seeks to have a class action certified on behalf of all victims of Grand Canyon’s practices nationwide.

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Franklin Lemond
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