Attorney Rusty Webb of Charleston-based Webb Law Centre is working to help former students of a now-closed for-profit Indiana college get the money they deserve after the school closed and failed to timely inform the students that the school would be closing.
Webb, along with Andrea L. Ciobanu of Ciobanu Law and Dennis Taylor of Texas firm Talcott Franklin, filed suit against Harrison College and a number of collection agencies and servicers of collection agencies in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
Webb took the case after former Harrison College students reached out to him and asked for his help. He said he is making this type of litigation his "niche" practice.
"I'm doing this because I can't imagine anything worse than what is happening to these non-traditional students other than losing a life or the life of a loved one," Webb said in an interview with The West Virginia Record. "I cannot imagine anyone going through anything worse than what these non-traditional students have gone through."
Rusty Webb Photo courtesy of Charles R. "Rusty" Webb
Webb said he's fighting to get students what they deserve.
"I'm working hard to get them as much as I can for their aggravation, inconvenience and annoyance," Webb said. "I think that's what prompted the students at Harrison College to call me."
Webb said he has dedicated his legal career to representing students who have been wronged by the very institutions they have entrusted to educate them.
"From Mountain State University to Salem International University, to West Virginia Business College, and most recently, Harrison College, I have fought and continue to fight to secure compensation for these students who are left out in the cold when these schools fail to educate them," Webb said.
Webb was recently quoted in an article by The Chronicle of Higher Education about his representation of the former Harrison College students.
Webb said the Chronicle has been a great resource for him.
"Their reporters have done a really good job on reporting on these for-profit private colleges that go out of business or lose accreditation," Webb said.
The federal lawsuit claims that the college failed to deal "openly, fairly, and honestly" after listing two of its campuses for sale more than a year earlier. Students continued to go to class, not aware that the college was about to be sold, and were not made aware that the college was sold until about a month later when they were told the school was closing down.
Craig F. Pfannenstiehl, the school's former executive, said that the sale of campus properties did not mean a closure was in the works and that the school did not decide to shut down until "about a week before we had to pull the plug," according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.