Settlement: Le Cordon Bleu/Western Culinary and Career Education Corp.

It only took 10 years. Late yesterday, we agreed to settle our consumer fraud class action against Western Culinary Institute, Le Cordon Bleu-Portland, and Career Education Corp.

Under the settlement, class members will get refunds of 44 percent of the amounts that they paid for tuition, books, and fees. The 44 percent is reduced for class members who owe money directly to the school. (That reduction does NOT apply to student loans; it’s only if you owed money directly to the school.) The settlement must be approved by the court, so it is not a done deal, and we still have far to go.

There are some other features to the settlement. About $1 million in debts owed by students back to the school will be wiped clean. The defendants will pay attorney fees on top of the refund amounts. The Court will decide how much in attorney fees we will receive.

There is one other feature that is kind of a big deal. In the world of student loans, a borrower can defend against a collection action by raising the fraud of the school. Under the settlement, class members can still litigate the fraud of the school as a defense to loans. Also, they can use the information that we gathered over the last 10 years to help defend against collection actions. It is possible that former students could have their loan balances wiped away.

The student loan wipe-away is something that class members will have to undertake on their own–Sallie Mae and Navient were not parties to this case. Class members who want to pursue that option will need to hire their own student-loan defense lawyers. If you’re in Oregon, Washington, or Idaho, we can provide a reference.

So if you’ve read this far, you probably want to know how much and when. If all goes well, payment would be sometime this summer. But it could be delayed. As far as how much, it’s simply math. If you paid $40,000 toward an associates degree–many paid more–and you don’t owe money back to the school, your 44 percent refund would pay back $17,600.

To get the money, you will need to file a claim. Claim forms should be going out in March. Once the claim period starts, you will have 90 days to file your claim. If you don’t file it by then, you lose your right to make a claim, and Career Education Corp. gets to keep the money. We don’t want that to happen! So we’ll be working with you to make sure that you get your claim filed.

Also, this settlement doesn’t apply to those who have to go to arbitration. If you’re in the arbitration group, we can continue to help you, but you have to help us help you. We are pursuing refunds for the arbitration group and will do whatever is necessary to achieve a recovery. If you’re a member of the arbitration group and haven’t done so, please sign up through our portal. There are deadlines for filing for arbitration. If you don’t take action, your rights will be lost.

So that’s the story. We’re pleased with our progress and this development. And of course, we will continue forward.


0 thoughts on “Settlement: Le Cordon Bleu/Western Culinary and Career Education Corp.

  • Thank you. Larry-Please have your son contact us ASAP. Best bet is to call me at 503.228.6474. This is very important. Claim deadline is June 7, 2018. Approval hearing is June 8, 2018.

  • Jacob zukowski says:

    So I started at Western and I think 2003 maybe 2004 and due to my mother getting ill and my step father passing away I transfer to Pennsylvania culinary in 04 At the admissions office I had to retake a bunch of classes that I’ve already taken at Western and basically when all is said and done my student loan percentage went from 3% at Western to18% of Pennsylvania and they are both le cordon blue schools So basically they were telling me I had to pay about $900 a month right out of school unfortunately my mother passed away and left me a little bit of money and ended up paying them about $35,000 don’t know if I can get any help with this but we are at Western culinary when the transition was going on from the old building to the new we have no product no structure complete shit show

  • HollY Peralta says:

    If i have my school debt in collections will this 44% refund be going to collection or myself?

  • Are there any updates as far as if the pay out is happening? I submitted my paperwork and am just wondering if this is real or not. If it is real, do you think refunds will happen this year or far away future?
    Thank you for keeping us in the loop through our this long ordeal!

  • Are there any updates as far as if the pay out is happening? I submitted my paperwork and am just wondering if this is real or not. If it is real, do you think refunds will happen this year or far away future?
    Thank you for keeping us in the loop throuh this long ordeal!

  • Rocky Rivard says:

    So, heads up to any students who were attending from 2005-2007, I didn’t make the class, as I enrolled few months before class timeline. I just got a notification from my credit monitor CreditWise, that Transunion updated my rating. On May 7th I had $43,604.78 in delinquent Navient student loan debt. As of today, May 8th, my score jumped up 116 points and ALL STUDENT LOAN DEBT AND DELINQUENT PAYMENT HISTORY REMOVED. Yes, that Just happened. I can only attribute it to this:

    Check your Credit report. is free and legit. You may have just gotten an impossible glitch in the matrix blessing. I give God all the glory of this. A miracle.

  • Did you file your claim or sign up for arbitration? Depending on when you attended, you are either part of the class action settlement, in the arbitration group, or outside of the time period. Feel free to call us at 503.228.6474 if you have questions.

  • Hi Holly-
    The money is yours. You can apply it toward your debts or use it to hire a lawyer to negotiate a better deal or even try to legally reduce or avoid the debt. You can call us at 503.228.6474 for more information. -David

  • It’s been a long haul, and while things will wind up this summer for the class, the arbitration group must continue on. Thanks for your kind words. -David

  • Hi Chelsea-
    Things are looking good. While we still must get final approval from the court, I think the settlement is likely to go through. If it does, payment would probably be late July or early August.

  • Heather McNeil says:

    I filled out the forms online and didn’t receive any paperwork after. Can you confirm that you have everything you need from me?

  • Hi Heather-
    We don’t communicate with clients through blog posts. You can use the WCI Fraud Claims portal to contact us.

  • If we are included in the settlement, can our parents who cosigned our loans still participate in the student loan forgiveness program? Although my portion of my student loans have been paid off, my mother owes a majority of her portion still. I understand she will not benefit from the 44% pay out, but is there something we can do to help with her portion of my student loans?

  • If the settlement is approved on Friday, is the money received considered taxable income or is it exempt for taxes?


  • As noted elsewhere, final approval was granted, and checks are expected to be mailed out August 10. Sorry that your comment got buried in the onslaught. If you want more information and better response, I would suggest that you follow us on our firm Facebook page. You can read about detailed updates and have a portal for direct message to us.

  • Rebecca Kelleher says:

    Hi David,
    My husband and I both went to Brooks Institute in CA, which was owned by Career Education Corp, CEC, and there is a huge amount of miss-leading the schools did during our time there. Is it by any chance included in the suit against CEC? There are is a large number of students that were unable to finish their degrees when Brooks was closed by CEC and a huge number of us who were miss-lead. Even my husband and I who graduated have had issues since he got a different degree when he finished than was expected. Just curious!

  • Our case only covered culinary in Portland. You might want to talk to a lawyer in CA., but I suspect the time to file ran a long time ago.

  • I have a potential client that missed the deadline for the Culinary Institute of Portland settlement. I believe the deadline was in June 2018, but he claims he did not know about it until recently. Any way he can petition for inclusion in the class?

  • Hey, I’m messaging here on behalf of a sibling who lives abroad and missed the deadlines. Does anyone know if today’s court ruling on the Obama-era student debt relief act is another option for people like my sibling?

  • The current Department of Education under Secretary DeVos is very hostile to fraud claims. It’s possible that the court ruling will lead to real relief, but I have my doubts. And yes, we claimed that they inflated placement rates.

  • Hey, I graduated at I believe 2003? Top of the class however… i used to teach and they told me quit my job if I was really trying to do to fo this. So I quit my 40k annual job and drove in at 8$ an hour. I was told this degree would put me head n shoulders above everyone else. 15 years later yes I’m in charge finally back at 40k however I have a mortgage payment for something that my mom taught me and some tricks they showed me that I couldve learned in a weekend .

  • Our case focused on the 2006-2010 period. I’m not surprised that some of the same things were going on earlier. Thanks for sharing that piece of history.

  • Virginia Allen says:

    My son was the first batch of Le Cordon Bleu students in Las Vegas in 2004 who graduated in 2006. I am still paying the Federal Loans and Private loans of over $50k at the 7% and 13% interests respectively. Is there any hope on his case?

  • I’m not licensed in Nevada and cannot advise you. I suggest you talk to a lawyer licensed in that state about his options. You would want someone who practices in the areas of consumer protection, with experience in student loan law.
    -David Sugerman

  • I am not licensed to practice law in Arizona and can’t assist you. I suggest you contact someone there who has experience with consumer fraud class actions.
    -David Sugerman

  • It depends on the type of loans. The recent ruling applied only to student loans made under the direct loan program

  • I was a student at LCB WCI during this time period. I was never notified of this class action lawsuit. Is it possible to see if I qualify? Thanks

  • Feel free to call our office at 503.228.6474. The short answer is that it’s too late, even if you were part of the class. There is a good chance you were not part of the class. To qualify, you needed to sign your enrollment agreement and start classes in Portland between March 2006 and March 2010. If you signed your agreement before that date or if you dropped out without withdrawing, you would not have been included.

  • Cynthia Basinger says:

    Thank you for all the info here. My son attended in California in 2008, finished in 2009. I sadly co-signed for a private loan that he was coerced into signing. He had a terrible accident in 2013 leaving him permanently disabled. Is going to school and has been able to defer loan until three months ago. In forbearance status. Is there any chance we could get out of this if we found an attorney in California who could plead the fraud case applying the case law and precedent you so successfully applied to the Le Cordon Bleu suit in Portland?

  • It’s worth talking to someone in your local community who has expertise in student loan debt defense. It may be possible to discharge the loans because of your son’s disability. One place to find good referrals is the National Association of Consumer Advocates. You can search here by state and by practice area. Good luck.

  • As a student during this time period at WCI in Portland, I was following this waiting to hear about it. I saw that it was delayed, and figured I would hear about it once settled. I heard nothing, until today when I was wondering about it and googled it. Why weren’t the students affected contacted to file their claim? And now it’s too late? This is incredibly disappointing as I had well over $30,000 in loans and tuition to them during this time. My SL debt is almost doubled now due to default, interest, and fees. The private loans they talked me into have been the worst possible financial damage to me. Is there really nothing to be done at this point?

  • We tried very hard to notify people, using mail, email, and social mediA. I am sorry that you did not see any of our notices and updates. Most people did.

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