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Arbitrator Samuel G. Jackson Awards Anna Berkowitz and Father Martin $217,000

Published on Monday, June 17, 2013 | 6:44 pm

Arbitrator Samuel G. Jackson on Wednesday awarded Anna Berkowitz and her father Martin $217,000 in the first of over 1,000 individual lawsuits to be tried or arbitrated, against Pasadena-based Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

Jackson found that Le Cordon Bleu and its parent company Career Education Corp., committed fraud when they recruited Berkowitz out of high school and convinced her and her father that borrowing almost $40,000 to pay for eight months of training at the school would make her “a shoe-in” to land a job as a Pastry Chef earning $75,000 a year to start, according to a news statement.

He awarded the Berkowitzs damages for tuition paid, earnings lost while she attended the school, damages for lost opportunity for the months she unsuccessfully sought employment as a pastry chef after graduation from, damages for emotional distress and attorneys’ fees, according to the statement.

Kirtland & Packard first filed this lawsuit in 2008 in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

“We have maintained since this mass lawsuit was started in 2008, that many thousands of kids were defrauded by defendants’ deceptive sales techniques and practices, and that their lies lured unsuspecting kids into a unnecessary debt that in many cases has crushed their life’s chances,” said lead trial counsel, Michael Louis Kelly.

“We are pleased that the Arbitrator found not only the verbal representations made to our client, but also Le Cordon Bleu (R)’s marketing materials, false and misleading,” said Kelly.

Claimants in the cases against Le Cordon Bleu allege that they were victims of a fraudulent scheme to convince them through deceptive advertising and recruiting practices that if they borrowed $30,000 to $50,000 to attended classes they would:

1. Easily find a job as a Chef immediately upon graduation.
2. Immediately earn salaries of $40,000 to $80,000; and
3. Easily be able to service their loan obligations.

Claimants allege that Le Cordon Bleu and its parent company, Career Education Corp. knew these representations were false, and further knew that upon graduation the students:

1. Would still have to work their way up the culinary ladder from the bottom.
2. Would make no more than $10 to $12 an hour to start and it would take years for them to work their way up to $14-$15 an hour; and
3. It was highly unlikely or impossible that they would be able to service or ever pay off their loans working in the culinary industry.

Arbitrator Jackson’s full award is available at

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