United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT ON THE CLAIMS OF PLAINTIFF KACHENA RICHARDSON (Doc.
Timothy S. Black United States District Judge
civil case is before the Court on Defendants' motion for
summary judgment on the claims of Plaintiff Kachena
Richardson (Doc. 49) and the parties' responsive
memoranda (Docs. 55, 60).
Annie Borden and Kachena Richardson commenced this lawsuit,
which alleges that Defendants engaged in deceptive and
misleading marketing and advertising practices. Plaintiffs
are former students in Antonelli's Practical Nursing
Program (“PNP”). Plaintiffs' claims, which
are asserted on behalf of themselves and a putative class,
are premised on their contentions that Defendants
misrepresented facts about the PNP, including its quality and
approval from the Ohio Board of Nursing (“OBN”),
and failed to provide adequate instruction.
filed separate motions for summary judgment on the claims of
Ms. Richardson and Ms. Borden. The current motion pertains to
Ms. Richardson's claims. For background purposes, the
facts alleged in the Second Amended Complaint (Doc.
30) relevant to Ms. Richardson's claims are as follows:
Richardson contacted Antonelli College in response to
advertisements of its PNP. (Doc. 30 at ¶ 58). From the
outset, Ms. Richardson made clear to Antonelli recruiters and
administrators that her goal was to achieve a degree as a
registered nurse, and a practical nursing diploma was only
the first step. Recruiters and administrators from Antonelli
assured Ms. Richardson that the PNP was “fully
accredited” and that its credits were fully
transferable to schools offering a registered nursing degree
(“RN”) through reciprocity agreements.
(Id. at ¶¶ 59, 60). Ms. Richardson claims
these representations were not true.
Richardson entered the PNP in September, 2013, as a member of
the program's inaugural class. (Doc. 30 at ¶ 58).
Ms. Richardson excelled in the PNP, maintaining a 4.0 grade
point average. However, it became apparent that
Antonelli's instruction was deficient. (Id. at
¶ 61). For example, an instructor once walked out during
a scheduled class, informing students that Antonelli was not
paying her. (Id.)
Ms. Richardson found out that Antonelli was not
“fully” accredited by the OBN, she met with Ms.
Barnette, the administrator of the PNP, and Edward Nito, the
president of Antonelli through April 2015, to ask about
Antonelli's status. (Doc. 30 at ¶ 63). President
Nito informed Ms. Richardson that Antonelli's full
accreditation depended entirely on her class of five
maintaining a 100% graduation rate and 100% NCLEX-PN passage
rate. (Id.) When Ms. Barnette expressed
concern that Antonelli was not meeting the minimal
requirements set forth by the OBN, Mr. Nito replied:
“We'll get this done.” (Id.)
Richardson and her four classmates graduated in August 2014
and passed the NCLEX-PN. (Id. at ¶ 64). Despite
their efforts, the OBN imposed a Consent Agreement on the PNP
because of Antonelli's deficiencies. (Id.)
Richardson and her classmates, all of whom wanted to continue
for an RN degree, soon found out that Antonelli's
assurances that Antonelli credits would be transferable to RN
programs were false. (Doc. 30 at ¶ 65). Ms. Richardson
applied to the University of Cincinnati, NKU, Cincinnati
State, Good Samaritan Hospital's School of Nursing,
Christ Hospital's School of Nursing, Mount St. Joseph
College, and Claremont College. (Id.) None would
accept any of her Antonelli credits. (Id.) Only
other for-profit colleges showed any willingness to accept
Antonelli's credits-and then only a minimal number of
credits, despite her outstanding grades. (Id.)
Richardson is currently enrolled at Cincinnati State taking
remedial courses to prepare to enter its LPN program and then
continue in its RN program. (Doc. 30 at ¶ 66). She is
forced to repeat all of her Antonelli LPN courses, despite
her 4.0 average, her diploma, and passage of the NCLEX-PN.
(Id.) Antonelli recruiters continue to contact Ms.
Richardson asking her to refer prospective students to
Antonelli to increase their commissions and meet quotas.
Complaint alleges that, due to Defendants' conduct, acts,
and omissions, Ms. Borden, Ms. Richardson, and putative class
members have suffered damages including, but not limited to:
(1) loss of the expected degree qualifying them to sit for
the NCLEX-PN; (2) loss of one year or more of time and
dedication to the PNP; (3) loss of tuition, fees, interest on
loans, and supplemental expenses to attend the PNP; (4) loss
of costs to commute, park, and/or childcare; (5) loss of
future earnings; and (6) loss of earnings due to their
participation in the PNP. (Doc. 30 at ¶ 67).
Complaint asserts claims for violation of the Ohio Deceptive
Trade Practices Act (“ODTPA”) (Count One), breach
of contract (Count Two), fraud (Count Three), constructive
fraud (Count Four), intentional misrepresentation (Count
Five), negligent misrepresentation (Count Six), promissory
estoppel (Count Seven) and unjust enrichment (Count Eight).
Defendants' motion for judgment on the
January 24, 2017, the Court put on an Order granting
Defendants' motion for partial judgment on the pleadings
pertaining to Ms. Richardson's claims. (Doc. 38).
Specifically, the Court held that Ms. Richardson could not
maintain any claim premised on her allegation that Defendants
orally misrepresented the transferability of Antonelli
credits because those alleged oral misrepresentations were
expressly contradicted by the terms of an enrollment
agreement (“Enrollment Agreement”) signed by Ms.
Richardson. (Id. at 3-4). The Enrollment Agreement
states, in relevant part: “Antonelli College does not
guarantee transferability of its credits to other
institutions of higher education.” (Id. at 3).
On this basis, the Court entered judgment in favor of
Defendants on Ms. Richardson's claims for fraud (Count
Three), constructive fraud (Count Four), intentional
misrepresentation (Count Five), negligent misrepresentation
(Count Six), and promissory estoppel (Count Seven).
at this juncture, Ms. Richardson's remaining claims are
for violation of the ODTPA (Count One), breach of contract
(Count Two), and unjust enrichment (Count Eight).
Defendants' statement of undisputed facts.
to this Court's Standing Order Governing Civil Motions
for Summary Judgment, Defendants presented the following
Richardson graduated from the PNP, sat for the NCLEX-PN exam,
passed the NCLEX-PN exam, and obtained employment as a
licensed practical nurse. (Doc. 49-1 at ¶ 6; Doc. 55-1
at ¶ 6).
Mary Ann Davis had no direct responsibility or oversight with
respect to the PNP, nor did she have any involvement with Ms.
Richardson prior to the filing of this lawsuit. (Doc. 49-1 at
Corey Bjarnson is the Dean of Students at Antonelli's
Cincinnati campus. (Doc. 49-1 at ¶ 9; Doc. 55-1 at
STANDARD OF REVIEW
motion for summary judgment should be granted if the evidence
submitted to the court demonstrates that there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact, and that the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c).
See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322
(1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 247-48 (1986). The moving party has the burden of
showing the absence of genuine disputes over facts which,
under the substantive law governing the issue, might affect
the outcome of the action. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.
All facts and inferences must be construed in a light most
favorable to the party opposing the motion. Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,
opposing a motion for summary judgment “may not rest
upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleading, but . .
. must set forth specific facts showing that there is a