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CLASS ACTION TIME

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by careerchanger, Nov 15, 2001.

  1. careerchanger

    careerchanger Member
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    I have had enough with AMCAS, this time a notice saying that due to an error with their web site, applicants were not able to add additional schools at this time. As we all know, this is just the latest problem -- they have put us through hell. Worst of all, I paid them over $900 to process my application and it seems like every day I get a letter from a school asking to send transcripts and copies of my application. This is unacceptable -- and we should not have to pay such a high fee for this pitiful service.

    If you are interested in working with me on this, contact me at [email protected] In case you are a nervous pre-med not wanting to casue any problems, don't worry as everything and everybody (except for a few leaders) will remain confidential.

    Join me and lets get what we deserve.
     
  2. none

    none 1K Member
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    Lots of big talk on this issue....
     
  3. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    We discussed this a lot a while back. Do a search for "class action lawsuit," "you are not going to believe this!" and "Letter to the President of Amcas" for some ideas of what you can do. Bottom line is our monetary damages are not enough and adverse effects (like not getting into a school because AMCAS took so long to process your app) too difficult to prove for a competent attorney to take on the case. I have personally discussed it at length with such an attorney.
     
  4. NE_Cornhusker1

    NE_Cornhusker1 12" Member
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    I would kindly disagree, lost transcripts, receiving you have been verified e-mails when in fact you are not and receiving e-mails telling you that months later, this "Melvin" guy hitting on female applicants and possibly helping to speed their verifcations, time spent on the phone to fix these problems, etc.

    All you've got to do is negligence (which shouldn't be hard) and the flood gates open. McDonald's forked over like $8M to a lady to scalded herself with coffee that was a little to hot because some zit-faced 16 year old kid screwed up. Nobody will get rich but a portion of what you paid may be refunded.

    Y'all just got to remember three words; Pain and Suffering.
    Peace
     
  5. lake show

    lake show Senior Member
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    cornhusker, i have to disagree with you. lost transcripts can be (and probably are) attributed largely to the anthrax attacks. the specialist hitting on an applicant definately is not sexual harrassment or even close to it from what i've read so far from the original poster. there's no basis for legal prosecution on your facts. do i think that amcas did a ****ty job this year, hells yeah! but to go about a class action suit against them, imo, won't work due to their claims of the faulty new web application system and the mail fiasco this past month.

    negligence isn't as easy as you claim either. you mention the mcdonalds case, but if you actually go into the case, you see that mcdonalds had over 700 complaints of the coffee being too hot, and they never did anything about it. mcdonald's served coffee almost 20 degrees higher than the standard, and in the case, mcdonalds people lied about those previous complaints. plus, she didn't win $8M, she won a verdit of $160K plus $2.7M in punitive which was later reduced to $480K. your facts on the case are way off.
     
  6. Jedi In Training

    Jedi In Training Senior Member
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    Lost transcripts due to 9/11. They were losing them long before that. I submitted my transcrips back in April, when they were doing nothing but sitting on their @$$e$ and drinking coffee. Then they tell me in August that they did not receive them. I called the schools and they all told me that they had send them long ago. If I had to pick a liar, I would have an easy choice.
     
  7. tulips500

    tulips500 New Member

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    deoxynando- same thing happened to me! (i submitted early in April.) when i called AMCAS, they said they were moving buildings and it probably got lost in the process.
     
  8. NE_Cornhusker1

    NE_Cornhusker1 12" Member
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    I'm sorry, I didn't fully research the McDonald's case. I brought it up to show how a low level paper pusher at AMCAS who losses a transcript can land AMCAS in scalding hot water. The antrax situation is a recent problem and the majority of the students had submitted transcripts before this nasty little microbe became part of the American lexicon.

    The 700 comlaints and Mickey D's lying about are certainly aggitating factors in that case but ultimately some pimply 16 year old kid made the coffee too hot.

    Would I like to see a class action suit against AMCAS? No. It would waste their time and resources contributing to an even higher price to pay for next year's applicants and may prevent possible refinements in nest year's application process. A sincere apology from AMCAS would make many happy.
     
  9. Osler Penfield

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    GENO,
    how do u know so much about the McDonald's case?
    billy
     
  10. LilMissDrDoolittle

    LilMissDrDoolittle Senior Member
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    I am sure there is somebody out there who has already filed a law suit, dont you think??

    By the way, career, the problem you speak of with AMCAS has been fixed as of 11/15 evening
     
  11. lake show

    lake show Senior Member
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    i did research on the myth and facts of that case a couple years ago. most people, like cornhusker, thinks that it was some idiotic kid who made the coffee too hot and this lady spilled it on herself getting tons of money. she actually got 3rd degree burns on like 15% of her body! normal coffee should not be giving 3rd degree to anyone, and from the facts, mcdonalds did not heed prior warnings so it wasn't the kids fault, it was mcdonalds fault in not implementing a lower standard for the coffee temperature. check this website out for the "facts" of the case, not the myths.
    <a href="http://www.centerjd.org/free/mythbusters-free/MB_mcdonalds.htm" target="_blank">McD</a>

    if you read the case, you can see why she won. if we can show amcas was as stupid as mcdonalds in this case, then maybe we'll get a refund. but to my knowledge and to the most part, they seem to try to fix things as soon as it gets to their attention (which takes a while...), whether it's the website or processing. obviously, i didn't have too many problems, so others may state differently.
     
  12. NE_Cornhusker1

    NE_Cornhusker1 12" Member
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    She paid for a defective product that McD's knew was defective. Those submitting AMCAS applications by in large paid for a defective product. The fact that AMCAS tries to fix their mistakes as quickly as possible is certainly nice, but McD's lowered the coffee temp the day after the verdict. The simple fact of the matter is that you don't reward someone for screwing up. McD's didn't get money back from her after they lowered the temperature of the coffee. The parking meter attend doesn't give you a quarter after you pay your parking tickets so you won't get more tickets. Do you see what I'm getting at, if you put out a ****ty product and someone is hurt you are responsible for it. If some kid couldn't add a school and has now missed that school's deadline because of the incompetence of AMCAS, they are responsible.
     
  13. lake show

    lake show Senior Member
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    i don't disagree with you on the fact that amcas put out a ****ty product and the fact that they are responsible. however, i don't see the rewards in filing a lawsuit. the reason mcdonalds had to fork over so much $$ was because of their negligence in not responding to previous complaints, and the punitive damages was based on 2 days worth of mcdonalds coffee revenue. to my knowledge, this is amcas' first web based application and it sucked, but in a court of law, i don't see how we as a group can receive a huge windfall that would pocket each and every applicant a significant amount of money.

    i think a better option is for those who got royally screwed by amcas to write to news agencies or whatever to shed light into the workings of amcas. maybe there are some shady things going on in there, and then a lawsuit would be more prudent.
     
  14. NE_Cornhusker1

    NE_Cornhusker1 12" Member
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    good deal corleone, it seems we have gotten at least this far;
    1.AMCAS and the web app sucks.

    2.filing a massive suit wouldn't do much good.
    - the debate falls over who would win the case. we can both speculate but ultimately wouldn't know until the ruling is handed down.

    3.not every applicant deserves a massive windfall (or even one at all for that matter.)
    - if you applied through amcas and got in but had to send a transcripts twice, they got the job done, despite it being a pain your butt.

    i would imagine a handfull of suits are filed for lost transcripts (which AMCAS had initally told the students they had and then later told the students they didn't have) that delayed proccessing and that student didn't get in because they were late in the cycle, people who maybe submitted in july and wanted to add a school with a nov.1 deadline but couldn't, these types of things.

    i think in the future i would like to see people apply to schools individually (unique personal statements for each school, extra cirriculars) in combination a central service for the standardized parts of the app such as grades, schools attended, majors and minors, and MCATs. where a student would input the data, have placed into a standard format, and be allowed to print it out and send it in with individual school's app. just my thoughts.
     
  15. careerchanger

    careerchanger Member
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    for me, this is not about money, but about doing what is right. true, we all did pay a hefty fee for a service that was bad, and this should not happen again. the problem is that they have a monopoly on a service and (a) we paid for it, (b) they did not perform adequately, (c) many of us incurred extra expenses and aggravation and (d) they continue to find problems and do not make appropriate accomodations. to the honest, even if every applicant got $10.00 back, it would be a moral victory and show not only amcas but other burocracies that all of us will face in the future that us new brand of docs will not take things sitting down.
     
  16. avr

    avr

    There is most definitely a claim for a class-action. I work at a very well-known, large, presigious law firm (to put myself through pre-med). A senior litigation partner here, after hearing about the AMCAS situation, offered to write a letter for me and believes I will be able to get my fees back "and some." If I have a claim as an individual, then every member of the class does. Quite frankly, the right thing to do this year would simply have been for AMCAS to waive (or refund) their fees, since they did not provide the service they said they would.
     
  17. SMW

    SMW Grand Member
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    Well, if you can get your fees refunded without spending all your refund on the lawyer, then more power to you. Just because someone is "morally" due a refund, doesn't mean that any lawyer would take the class action suit on on a contingent fee basis, which is how these cases are generally handled. Big name litigators don't take on contingent fee cases where the payout stands to be so small. Our "class" just isn't big enough, given the small amount of proveable damages. Please let us know if you do get a refund.
    Btw, welcome to SDN! :)
     
  18. Ranger Bob

    Ranger Bob Senior Member
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    I've written Jordan Cohen letters and e-mails requesting a refund. I received a reply from Nancy Tillinghast that didn't really address my points, but ultimately seemed to reject my refund request. I'm not giving up, however. I plan to continue making my case as much as my busy schedule allows.

    I'm not sure I agree with those who claim that our case isn't big enough to attract an attorney on a contingency fee basis. I estimate that AMCAS has collected ~$20 million from us this year. Surely there's an attorney out there who would be attracted by that figure.

    In a perfect world, AMCAS would be on the losing side in class action lawsuit and would forced to settle the case. As part of the settlement agreement, they would agree to refund our fees, offer us an apology, and permanently reduce their monopolistic fees starting with next year's class. They could reduce their fees if the AAMC stopped using AMCAS and MCAT to subsidize its political initiatives. (You're naive if you think they spend $20 million a year processing AMCAS applications!)

    More realistically, I'd like a letter from Jordan Cohen with a detailed acknowledgement of the mistakes his organization made and with an unconditional, unequivocal apology. Dr. Cohen should take full responsibility for his organization's mistakes. Unfortunately, all I've heard thus far from AMCAS are excuses and attempts to downplay the organization's gross ineptitude. (Dr. Cohen's comments in the LA Times article last August serve as an example.)

    I'll close with this: About 8 years from now, many of us will complete our training and enter a world in which incompetent bureaucrats (remind you of anyone?) attempt to dictate how we treat our patients. Will we use our intelligence and moral courage to change the system, or will we sit back and take it, growing more and more resentful every day? In that light, I believe that the precedent our class sets in our dealings with AMCAS takes on additional significance.
     
  19. LilMissDrDoolittle

    LilMissDrDoolittle Senior Member
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    Hi ranger bob

    I am curious to read that article in the la times. Do you have the link?
     
  20. Ranger Bob

    Ranger Bob Senior Member
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    <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-000068762aug25.story?coll=la%2Dnews%2Da%5Fsection" target="_blank">Online Submission Process Fails Medical School Hopefuls</a>

    It's interesting that the Times considered the problem bad enough to write an article about it three months ago. As we all know, things haven't gotten much better since then.
     
  21. avr

    avr

    Okay, here are some final thoughts on this subject from someone working relatively close to laywers (not for long, hopefully):

    1. Yes, there is a class action here, despite what any individual lawyer may say. If you want to be the named plaintiff for such a suit (ie, the person whose name appears in the caption), you simply have to find a firm that specializes in class action-- they're out there. Try the firms that sued big tobacco- these were all class actions. I have not ruled it out for myself, but don't want a career as a professional litigant at the moment. Keep in mind someone may already have filed-- you'll know when you get an inviation to opt out of the class (something that happens in every class action). I don't think that precludes others from filing though.

    2. You do not have to organize a class. That is your lawyer's job. So don't worry about rabble-rousing. The class exists, everyone's suffered the same damages, etc. Your lawyer pitches it to a judge, and the judge makes the decision about whether or not a class exists-- a no-brainer in this case.

    3. You don't want a letter of apology, you just want your money back. Look at it just like you would taking your car to a bad mechanic and wanting your money back in that case.

    4. Keep your eye on the prize. Get into school first, then, once you are situated, devote some time to getting you money back. Since the amount per individual is less than $2000, why not use small claims court? It's an option if a class action isn't filed.

    5. This is not a moral dilemma-- it's a legal one. Stuff like this happens all the time; don't blow it out of proportion. At the same time, don't be afraid to use the legal system. It's there to protect your rights (and your money) if they've been violated.

    6. Ranger Bob made a good point about advocacy. Afterall, we're the people who'll be battling HMO's in a few years so our patients get the care they deserve. Interestingly enough, I'm aware of a lawsuit pending in Florida against a very well known HMO that challenges the very foundation of their contract with doctors and patients -- not coincidentally, it's a class action. :)

    Best of luck to each and everyone of you in your careers.
     

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