23 more cases filed against Mountain State

CHARLESTON -- Twenty-three more students have filed lawsuits against Mountain State University for failing to inform them about problems with the school's accreditation.

Former university president Charles H. Polk and the Mountain State University Board of Trustees were also named as defendants in the suit.

Deborah Hawthorne, Kristy Bias, Kayla Phillips, Brittany Lewis, Rebecca Polk, Cherri Porter, Laila Richards, Ginger Smith, Heidi Lee, Dina Joy, Valerie Sparks, Victoria Younis, Brandy Stowers, Kim Stanton, Kim Rittenhouse, Nellie Sigman, Amanda Morris, Teresa Metz, Michael Boyd, Victoria King, Kimberly Matias, Linda Runion and Mary Jo Sams were all admitted into MSU's nursing program for a Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree, according to 23 complaints filed Aug. 14 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

The plaintiffs claim when they were admitted to the program, they were informed that the program was accredited by National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission and West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses, but later discovered the nursing program did not have full accreditation status.

In 2008, the NLNAC voted to place nursing program at MSU on warning and scheduled the next evaluation visit for spring 2010, according to the suits.

The plaintiffs claim after the spring 2010 visit by the NLNAC, the commission voted to deny continuing accreditation to the BSN program.

MSU, Polk and the Board of Trustees failed to inform the plaintiffs of the accreditation denial and encouraged them to continue paying for and participating in the program, according to the suits.

The plaintiffs claim on Nov. 12, 2010, the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses voted unanimously to require that MSU's BSN program cease and desist all admissions to all nursing programs/pathways or any other program representing progression toward a nursing degree for a minimum of 15 months.

The defendants were negligent in keeping the students informed and breached the contract with the plaintiffs by failing to provide the education opportunity promised, according to the suits.

The 23 plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They are being represented by William Druckman, Madonna Estep, John P. Fishwick Jr. and Monica L. Mroz.

The cases have been assigned to Circuit Judges Paul Zakaib Jr., Jennifer Bailey, James C. Stucky, Charles E. King, Louis H. Bloom, Carrie Webster and Tod Kaufman.

Kanawha Circuit Court case numbers: 12-C-1615, 12-C-1616, 12-C-1617, 12-C-1618, 12-C-1619, 12-C-1620, 12-C-1621, 12-C-1622, 12-C-1623, 12-C-1624, 12-C-1625, 12-C-1626, 12-C-1627, 12-C-1628, 12-C-1629, 12-C-1630, 12-C-1631, 12-C-1632, 12-C-1633, 12-C-1634, 12-C-1635, 12-C-1636, 12-C-1637

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