The International Culinary Center and Former Students Continue to Spar in Ongoing Lawsuit

Staff Writer
Former students of the ICC are suing the school for false advertising, but has the plaintiffs’ case unraveled in the process?
The International Culinary Center and Former Students Continue to Spar in Ongoing Lawsuit

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The former students claim that the school has been misleading in its ‘guarantees’ of a chef job post-graduation.

Litigation against the International Culinary Center has become complicated. Last summer, the prestigious culinary school was sued by two former ICC students who claimed that the center was guilty of false advertising, allegedly stating that students could get “top-tier culinary jobs” immediately after graduation, but not following through on the promises. International Culinary Center founder Dorothy Hamilton dismissed the lawsuit as baseless, saying, “we stand behind our 30-year history of excellence in education.”

Now, the ICC has issued a statement suggesting that the plaintiffs’ case "has unraveled," citing a change of format in the suit. Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case have chosen not to attempt to certify a class action lawsuit, which means that the two original plaintiffs will have to move forward with their case alone. "The two individual plaintiffs in the case are or will be facing summary judgment motions as to their individual claims," said Hamilton in a prepared statement. "If those motions are successful, International Culinary Center has indicated it fully intends to pursue plaintiffs to recover the costs ICC has incurred."

“We have spent 30 years building a reputation as an exemplary culinary school,” Hamilton's statement continued. “It is clear that these baseless claims cannot diminish the experience and success of over 15,000 graduates who take great pride in their hard work and education here." According to the statement, the plaintiff's attorney has said that he will pursue a different case on behalf of other graduates, to which Hamilton says "We are absolutely confident that these cases will also be defeated.”

The attorney, Ray E. Gallo, tells the story differently. “The court has made no ruling," he told The Daily Meal. "Our motion for class certification is due today [April 2], by midnight Eastern time, if we choose to file one. ICC knew from the outset, as did we, that class certification was unlikely here and that we might elect not to pursue it at all…. We have notified ICC that we anticipate proceeding on a mass rather than a class basis by filing roughly 50 individual lawsuits. ICC now claims it’s a victory to be sued by 50 people instead of two, with the possibility of more to come. The truth is, they lost their motion to dismiss the two…ndividual claims on the merits months ago, and now scores more cases are being filed.”

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