Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why did I receive the Notice?

    Records of Le Cordon Bleu Portland show that you are a member of the class of former students who are affected by the proposed Settlement of this class action lawsuit. The Court has preliminarily approved the Settlement.

    A copy of the Notice can be found here.

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  2. What is this lawsuit about?

    Nathan Surrett was appointed to serve as a Class Representative. The defendants are Western Culinary Institute, Ltd., Le Cordon Bleu North America, LLC, and Career Education Corporation. They will be referred to in this website as “Defendants.”

    Mr. Surrett claims that Defendants misrepresented or failed to disclose certain information pertaining to the nature and value of the education offered to students. Mr. Surrett claims that Defendants committed fraud and violated Oregon’s Unlawful Trade Practices Act in ways that caused financial damage to him and members of the class.

    Defendants deny liability to Mr. Surrett or to the class but have agreed to settle the case.

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  3. Who is in the class?

    The class consists of all former students who enrolled at and attended Le Cordon Bleu Portland on or after March 5, 2006, up to and including March 1, 2010. The Settlement impacts only those class members who did not sign an agreement expressly waiving their right to bring a class action (the “Settlement Subclass”).

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  4. What is the proposed Settlement?

    As part of the Settlement, Defendants agreed to pay to each member of the Settlement Subclass who fills out and returns a Claim Form by the deadline 44% of the total amount each Settlement Subclass Member paid to Le Cordon Bleu Portland. That total amount includes the amount paid for tuition, books, and fees, less any amounts received in grants or scholarships from Defendants and any amounts owed directly to Defendants. Defendants also agree that they will not seek to collect on amounts owed by members of the Settlement Subclass directly to Defendants.

    Defendants will not pay a claim unless you submit a Claim Form by the deadline. If you do not file a claim so that it is received by June 7, 2018, you will not receive any money.

    Click here to start your Claim Form.

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  5. What other benefits are there to the Settlement? How does this affect loans I have for attending Western Culinary Institute?

    You may be able to argue that you do not owe full payments on student loans for Le Cordon Bleu Portland. You are not giving up any defenses that you might have against third-party lenders or collectors who are seeking to collect on loans associated with your attendance at school. Any claim or defense involving your loan balance or collection of loans is not part of this lawsuit. You should obtain independent counsel to advise you on these issues.

    You have the right to use any information the class counsel obtained in this class action lawsuit to use in any claims against third-party lenders or collectors. That information, called "discovery" by attorneys, can be obtained from Class Counsel.

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  6. What must I do if I want to make a claim?

    If you received a Notice in the mail, you also received a pre-filled Claim Form. To make a claim under this proposed Settlement, you must sign, complete, and mail the Claim Form and Release using the enclosed prepaid envelope or mail to the Claims Administrator at the following address:

    Surrett v. Western Culinary Institute Claims Administrator
    P.O. Box 5270
    Portland, OR 97208-5270

    You may also email your claim to info@LeCordonBleuPortlandLawsuit.com or fill out a Claim Form here.

    If the Claims Administrator does not receive your Claim Form by June 7, 2018, you will not be entitled to receive compensation under the Settlement. Mailed Claim Forms that are postmarked but not received by June 7, 2018, will not be accepted.

    If you timely file a Claim Form and the Court approves the Settlement at the Final Approval Hearing, you will be entitled to a Settlement payment. Settlement Subclass Members who do not submit a timely, signed Claim Form and Release are not entitled to compensation under the Settlement, but they remain members of the class and will be subject to and bound by the provisions of the Settlement, including the judgment and the releases of liability it contains. This means that, even if you do not file a Claim Form (and do not request exclusion from the Settlement as described in FAQ 7), the judgment of the case will apply to you, and you will not be able to file a claim against Defendants for the claims made in this lawsuit.

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  7. How do I exclude myself from the Settlement?

    If you do not want to participate in this proposed Settlement and you want to keep the right to sue the Defendants about the legal issues in this case, then you must take steps to get out of the Settlement. This is sometimes called “opting out” of the Settlement class.

    If you wish to exclude yourself from the Settlement for any reason, you must send a written notice to the Claims Administrator including your name, address, and statement that you wish to be excluded from the Settlement in Nathan Surrett et al. v. Western Culinary Institute et al. You can also click here to opt out. By excluding yourself, you will give up any right to receive compensation from this Settlement. You must send in your exclusion request so that it is received by May 8, 2018. Exclusion requests postmarked on or before that deadline but received after that deadline will not be accepted.

    Your exclusion should be sent to the Claims Administrator at the following address:

    Surrett v. Western Culinary Institute Claims Administrator
    P.O. Box 5270
    Portland, OR 97208-5270

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  8. How do I object to the Settlement?

    If you are a Settlement class member (and do not request exclusion from the Settlement class), you can object to any part of the Settlement. To object, you must submit a letter or other written document that includes the following:

    1. A heading referring to the Case Number 0803-03530, pending before the Multnomah County Circuit Court in the state of Oregon and entitled "Nathan Surrett et al. v. Western Culinary Institute et al."
    2. A detailed written statement of the specific factual and legal basis for each objection, including why you have chosen to object rather than exclude yourself from the Settlement.
    3. If you want to appear at the Final Approval Hearing, a statement that you intend to appear and the grounds or specific reasons for your desire to appear and be heard. You do not have to attend the Final Approval Hearing to object to the Settlement.
    4. A list of and copies of all documents that you may seek to use at the Final Approval Hearing, and a list of the names of any witnesses that you want to present at the Final Approval Hearing. You do not have to present documents or witnesses to object to the Settlement.
    5. If you are represented by counsel, also provide counsel’s name, address, and telephone number. Any counsel representing you must file a Notice of Appearance and Points and Authorities in support of the objection, which shall contain any and all legal authority upon which you will rely and confirm whether the attorney intends to appear at the Final Approval Hearing.

    Your objection and all supporting documents must be filed with the Clerk of the Court and delivered to Class Counsel and Defendants’ Counsel at the addresses below so they are received no later than the objection deadline of May 8, 2018.

    Clerk of the Court Class Counsel Counsel for Defendants
    Clerk of the Court
    Multnomah County Circuit Court
    1021 SW 4th Avenue
    Portland, OR 97204
    David F. Sugerman
    David F. Sugerman Attorney PC
    707 SW Washington Street
    Suite 600
    Portland, OR 97205

    Amy Johnson
    5836 SE Madison Street
    Portland, OR 97215

    Tim Alan Quenelle
    Tim Quenelle PC
    4800 SW Meadows Road
    #300
    Lake Oswego, OR 97035
    Martin M. Loring
    Husch Blackwell
    4801 Main Street
    Suite 1000
    Kansas City, MO 64112

    Thomas R. Johnson
    Perkins Coie, LLP
    1120 NW Couch Street
    10th Floor
    Portland, OR 97209

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  9. What is the difference between objecting and asking to be excluded?

    Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object to the Settlement only if you do not exclude yourself. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object to the Settlement because it no longer affects you.

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  10. What happens if I do nothing?

    If you do nothing, you will not receive any Settlement payment, and you will be barred from bringing any similar claims against Defendants.

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  11. What are the attorneys' fees and expenses and the Class Representatives’ compensation?

    Class Counsel’s fees, costs, and expenses are being paid by Defendants and do not affect the amount of class members’ recovery. Class Counsel will apply to the Court for an award of attorneys' fees, reimbursement for their out-of-pocket expenses and costs, and representatives’ compensation in an amount not to exceed $8,000,000.00. Defendants have agreed to not oppose an application requesting fees and costs of $3,750,000.00. Class Counsel will also apply to the Court for payments of no more than $5,000.00 each to Mr. Surrett and Plaintiff Jennifer Adams for their service to the class.

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  12. What rights are being released by the Settlement?

    If the Court approves the proposed Settlement, all class members who have not excluded themselves from the class will release Defendants from any and all claims that were or could have been asserted in this lawsuit. All Settlement Subclass Members who have not excluded themselves from the class will forever be permanently barred from bringing any released claim against Defendants in the future.

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  13. What is the Final Approval Hearing, and when is it?

    PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a Final Approval Hearing will be held on June 8, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. at the Multnomah County Circuit Court, 1021 SW 4th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97204, to consider the final approval of this proposed Settlement. You are not required to appear at the hearing, but you may attend this hearing if you want to. At the Final Approval Hearing, the Court will consider the following:

    1. Whether the proposed Settlement is fair, reasonable, adequate, in good faith, and in the best interests of the members of the Settlement Subclass;
    2. Whether a Judgment and Order of Final Approval should be entered approving the Settlement and dismissing the pending claims against Defendants with prejudice on the merits and releasing the settled claims against Defendants;
    3. Whether the Court should approve the application for payment of attorneys' fees and reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses to be filed by Class Counsel and the amount to award in response to the application; and
    4. Whether the Court should approve the payments to Mr. Surrett and Ms. Adams, as set forth in FAQ 11.

    If, after conducting the Final Approval Hearing, the Court grants final approval of the Settlement as set forth in the Settlement Agreement (including any modification or amendment thereto to which Defendants and Class Counsel agree), it shall enter an Order of Final Approval and Limited Judgment. Defendants’ obligations to make payments under the Settlement Agreement do not become effective until the Court grants final approval and the “Payment Date,” as defined in the Settlement Agreement, occurs.

    Note: The Final Approval Hearing may be moved without further notice. Check this website for updates.

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  14. Are there more details about the Settlement?

    If you want additional information, please call toll-free at 1-844-551-1720. You may also contact Lead Class Counsel by emailing him at david@DavidSugerman.com or calling him at 1-503-228-6474.

    Do not contact the Court directly. You may, however, refer to the pleadings in the public file with the Court, which can be inspected at the file room of the Clerk’s Office, Multnomah County Circuit Court, 1021 SW 4th Avenue, Portland, OR 97204.

    Please DO NOT call or write the Clerk of the Court, Defendants, or Defendants’ Counsel. Defendants are not authorized to provide any information relating to Settlement or any claims you may have in this matter.

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  15. Notice of provision of personal information to Class Counsel and Class Administrator.

    The Court has ordered Defendants to provide certain personal information, including your Social Security Number, to Class Counsel and the Claims Administrator. Class Counsel and the Claims Administrator have agreed to keep this information confidential. Pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), if you do not want Defendants to provide your Social Security number to Class Counsel and the Claims Administrator, please contact the Surrett v. Western Culinary Institute Claims Administrator by April 11, 2018, via email at info@LeCordonBleuPortlandLawsuit.com or by mail at Surrett v. Western Culinary Institute Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 5270, Portland, OR 97208-5270.

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