United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
T'LANI ROBINSON, ROBBY BROWN, DENNIS MAGANA, AND NICOLE VERSETTO, Plaintiffs,
DEVRY EDUCATION GROUP, INC., AND DEVRY UNIVERSITY, INC., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
S. Shah United States District Judge
ran a for-profit university whose Enrollment Agreement
promised accurate information on its website, in catalogs,
advertisements, and other materials. The university claimed
that 90% of its students actively seeking employment got jobs
in their fields of study within six months of graduation. But
the true percentage was actually much lower. Defendants also
misrepresented graduates' median income levels.
Plaintiffs enrolled at the university (and obtained student
loans) in reliance on those representations. The complaint
alleges that, had plaintiffs known that the represented
employment and income statistics were inaccurate, they never
would have enrolled, or would have paid less money. They
brought claims under various unfair competition, consumer
fraud, and false advertising statutes, claims based on
contract and tort theories of relief, and a claim for
declaratory relief. Defendants move to dismiss under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following reasons,
the motion is granted.
complaint must contain factual allegations that plausibly
suggest a right to relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The court must accept all factual
allegations as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the
plaintiffs' favor, but need not accept legal conclusions
or conclusory allegations. Id. at 678-79. With a
12(b)(6) motion, a court may consider only allegations in the
complaint, documents attached to the complaint, and documents
that are both referred to in the complaint and central to its
claims. Levenstein v. Salafsky, 164 F.3d 345, 347
(7th Cir. 1998).
DeVry Education Group, Inc., and DeVry University, Inc., own
and operate the for-profit school DeVry University. 
¶ 1. Plaintiffs T'Lani Robinson, Robby
Brown, Dennis Magana, and Nicole Versetto are citizens of
Georgia, Missouri, California, and Illinois, respectively,
and former students of DeVry.  ¶¶ 10-13, 65,
70, 76, 81. During the recruitment and enrollment process,
plaintiffs saw and heard variations of statements by DeVry or
its representatives related to the success of its graduates.
staple of DeVry's recruiting and marketing efforts was
the claim that 90% of their students who were actively
seeking employment had obtained jobs in their fields of study
within six months of graduation.  ¶ 24. DeVry also
issued many statements touting similarly high figures for
specific degree programs and specific class years. 
¶¶ 25-27. But DeVry had been manipulating its data
to substantiate these claims, and the true percentages were
much lower.  ¶¶ 25- 28. DeVry routinely
included in its statistics graduates who were employed when
they enrolled and who never actively participated in a job
search, or those who found jobs outside of their fields of
study.  ¶ 29. It also improperly excluded from its
calculations many graduates who had been actively seeking
employment.  ¶ 33.
claimed that its graduates earned more money than graduates
from other colleges and universities.  ¶ 35. But it
based those statistics on data that DeVry knew to be
inaccurate.  ¶ 36. DeVry manipulated that data to
inflate its income statistics, even though the results
conflicted with other internal reports.  ¶ 37.
made those claims to prospective students through online
advertisements, catalogues, conversations with recruiters,
public statements, and regulatory filings.  ¶ 39.
DeVry promised the accuracy of those claims in its Enrollment
Agreement, which stated:
DeVry publishes accurate information about its programs,
policies, services, and graduate outcomes. Complete, accurate
information is provided on our website, [in] our catalogs,
and in advertisements and other materials published by DeVry.
 ¶ 23. Each plaintiff saw the claims and enrolled in
DeVry as a result, taking out loans to cover their costs.
a Georgia resident, saw online and television advertisements
containing representations of high post-graduate employment
rates and salaries, starting in 2010, and she ultimately
enrolled in the Decatur, Georgia campus.  ¶¶
61-65. Brown, a Missouri resident, saw and heard the
post-graduate representations in television and radio ads, in
telephone calls with DeVry representatives, on DeVry's
website, in brochures, and in in-person meetings, starting in
2010.  ¶ 66-69. He entered into an enrollment
agreement online and in June 2010, started attending classes
at two locations in Kansas City, Missouri.  ¶ 70.
Magana, a California resident, saw and heard ads on
television and radio, starting in 2009, each of which
repeated the claims; he also heard the claims in in-person
meetings and telephone calls.  ¶¶ 71-73. Magana
had been considering community college and other education
programs, but relying on DeVry's representations, he
entered into DeVry's enrollment agreement, took out
loans, and attended classes at the Palmdale, California
campus.  ¶¶ 72, 75, 76.
an Illinois resident, saw and heard the misrepresentations
about job placement and income in advertisements, in phone
calls, and on the website, starting in 2013.  ¶ 77.
She was considering different education programs at the time,
but on July 10, 2013, in reliance on the misrepresentations
she saw and heard, she entered into the online enrollment
agreement as a full-time student.  ¶¶ 78-79.
She took out loans to cover tuition and paid over $20, 000 in
tuition and fees.  ¶ 80. She attended classes online
and completed her degree in 2015.  ¶ 81.
plaintiffs known that the employment statistics were
inaccurate, they either never would have enrolled or would
have paid less for DeVry's services.  ¶ 192.
DeVry initiated this litigation by filing a complaint against
Robinson and Brown seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.
 ¶ 1. Robinson and Brown filed counterclaims, and
DeVry voluntarily dismissed its complaint. . After the
parties were realigned, DeVry filed a motion to dismiss,
, and plaintiffs filed an amended complaint in response.
. The complaint alleges claims under three Illinois
statutes (Counts I-III) and theories of misrepresentation
(Count VII), concealment (Count VIII), negligence (Count IX),
breach of fiduciary duty (Count X), conversion (Count XI),
and unjust ...