UMKC responds to medical school lawsuit

In response to a lawsuit filed by a former student last March, UMKC denied all allegations brought against them.

Former six-year medical school student, Joshua Carter, alleges UMKC disregarded their own policies to commit a pattern of racketeering against its students, thereby violating the RICO Act. Carter’s lawsuit also claims they are guilty of a breach of contract under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.

Carter’s lawsuit alleges UMKC committed fraud when they forced him to retake an entire year of classes he had already completed, refused to give him credit for classes he took and passed, and refused to accurately calculate his GPA. He is suing the university for attorney’s fees, punitive damages and compensation for other economic losses.

UMKC Director of Media Relations, John Martellaro, declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing pending litigation.

Denying any wrongdoing, UMKC  argued the RICO Act is not applicable to educational activities, and that they have sovereign immunity to the laws laid out in the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. According to one of Carter’s lawyers, Chris Dove, UMKC’s immunity comes from their status as a state entity.

The university’s council says the laws for granting and assessing claims for punitive damages are vague and violate the constitutional rights of the university. They have entered a counterclaim asking to be awarded attorney’s fees and other damages deemed appropriate by the court.

When asked about how he felt regarding UMKC’s response to his lawsuit, Carter said, “It was a little bit disappointing to see that they’re denying everything.”

Despite the university denying Carter’s claims, both parties met on Thursday in an attempt to reach a settlement, but were unsuccessful.

Neither Carter nor Dove believe this is an isolated incident, and both men have had other students reach out to them to share similar experiences. In an interview, Carter said the support from other students has been encouraging, and he is glad he took legal action.

As of right now, the case has moved from civil to federal court, and Dove said the discovery phase of the trial will begin. Carter speculates the first court date will be sometime in March, at least a year after the lawsuit was initially filed.

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