58 more suits filed against Mountain State University

By Kyla Asbury | Aug 6, 2012

CHARLESTON -- Fifty-eight 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.

Leona Hash, Sweta Khadka, Angela Gilkerson, Brittany Elmore, Justine Beckett, Pashi Sherpa, Jamie Pugh, Robin Batten, Jami Clay, Chelsea Jones, Bruce Krise, Jessica Dorsey, Skylar Marsh, Tiffany Loudermilk, Jessica Stover, Christina Bradsher, Mark Colombo, Britani Rader, Silpa Shrestha, Julia Lynch, Rikki Westfall, Elizabeth Hanna, Meenu Ck, LuCinda Kovack, Jeanette Lyttle, Janelle Terrell, Laura Bare, Mariya Taylor, Patricia Stein, Nancy Murphy, April White, Mary Medders, Jennifer Davis, Kasandra Mills, Shaye Conaway, Ruth Anne Cummings, Barbara Kaing, Daniel Chege, Kahlah King, Christina Fox, Ashton Nelson, NaShala Sadzewicz, Amanda Adkins, Margaret Dangerfield, Anthony Allen, Sandra Elmore, Amanda Lilly, Zachary Holbert, Saroj Pudel, Stephanie Rinehart, Nikita Pradhan, Roxanne Shick, Stephanie Groves, Amanda Layne, Charlene Wilson, Jeremy Vance, Indrawati Bista and Melissa Miller were all admitted into MSU's nursing program for a Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree, according to 58 complaints filed July 13 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 58 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 Tod J. Kaufman, Carrie Webster, Charles E. King, James C. Stucky, Paul Zakaib Jr., Louis H. Bloom and Jennifer Bailey.

Last month, the Higher Learning Commission said it was withdrawing Mountain State's accreditation. They listed "systemic breakdowns in leadership, program oversight, integrity issues and failing to provide accreditation information to students" as the reasons for the withdrawal.

Then, on Aug. 1, the University of Charleston announced it is taking over Mountain State University's campuses in Beckley and Martinsburg.

Kanawha Circuit Court case numbers: 12-C-1306, 12-C-1307, 12-C-1308, 12-C-1309, 12-C-1310, 12-C-1311, 12-C-1312, 12-C-1313, 12-C-1314, 12-C-1315, 12-C-1316, 12-C-1317, 12-C-1318, 12-C-1319, 12-C-1320, 12-C-1321, 12-C-1322, 12-C-1323, 12-C-1324, 12-C-1325, 12-C-1326, 12-C-1327, 12-C-1328, 12-C-1329, 12-C-1330, 12-C-1331, 12-C-1332, 12-C-1333, 12-C-1334, 12-C-1335, 12-C-1336, 12-C-1337, 12-C-1338, 12-C-1339, 12-C-1340, 12-C-1341, 12-C-1342, 12-C-1343, 12-C-1344, 12-C-1345, 12-C-1346, 12-C-1347, 12-C-1348, 12-C-1349, 12-C-1350, 12-C-1351, 12-C-1352, 12-C-1353, 12-C-1354, 12-C-1355, 12-C-1356, 12-C-1357, 12-C-1358, 12-C-1359, 12-C-1360, 12-C-1361, 12-C-1362, 12-C-1363

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