SHATINA D. SUAREZ VS. EASTERN INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE F/K/A MICROTECH TRAINING CENTER, INC.A-2705-10T2
Plaintiff Shanita D. Suarez enrolled in the diagnostic medical ultrasound technician (DMUT) program of Micro Tech, a for-profit school, after an admissions representative told her that upon graduation, she would be able to perform ultrasounds on patients in hospitals and clinics and earn $65,000 per year. In this lawsuit, alleging violations of the Consumer Fraud Act (CFA), N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 to -195, and common law fraud, she contends that these representations were false. She alleges that, to obtain employment in this field, it was necessary to obtain American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography certification. Because Micro Tech lacked necessary accreditation, she was not eligible upon graduation to take the examination administered by ARDMS to obtain the certification required by potential employers. She contends that, as a practical matter, she cannot either attain the credentials necessary to be eligible to take the ARDMS examination or obtain employment as an entry level sonographer.
Plaintiff now appeals from an order that granted summary judgment to defendant, dismissing her complaint. We conclude that, because a jury could find that defendant's statements were so misleading as to a material fact as to effectively deprive her of the ability to make an intelligent decision as a consumer, the statements were actionable under the CFA and summary judgment was inappropriate. We affirm the dismissal of her common law fraud claim.
Defendant cross-appeals, arguing that plaintiff's CFA claim should have been dismissed as barred under a "learned professional" exemption. We reject defendant's argument that the "learned professional" exemption applies. 08-23-12