Bates sued again for alleged bad instruction

Bates Technical College once again is being sued by students who contend they received shoddy instruction at the Pierce County school.

Attorney Thaddeus Martin filed a complaint for damages in Pierce County Superior Court last week on behalf of Tammy Giauque and Michelle Rhine.

The lawsuit contends Giauque and Rhine did not receive the education they were promised when they enrolled in Bates’ computer repair network support program.

“After plaintiffs were coerced into enrolling, they essentially found the program to be a fraud,” their lawsuit states.

School spokeswoman Kimberly Pleger declined to answer questions submitted to her by The News Tribune, including what if anything Bates did to rectify the alleged deficiencies in the program.

“Bates Technical College is committed to its mission to inspire, challenge and educate,” Pleger said in an email. “The college takes this lawsuit very seriously, and it has been received by the Attorney General’s Office. Due to the pending litigation, the college will not comment at this time to your specific questions.”

Giauque and Rhine contend the program’s instructor, who was not named in their suit, often stayed in his office during class time, provided minimal lecturing, sometimes failed to show up to class altogether and did not teach to a structured curriculum.

He referred questions to other students and often became impatient when someone asked for his help, the suit states.

“Bates administrators have been aware of these issues for quite some time without any noticeable recourse or communication back to the students,” the lawsuit states. “The plaintiffs asked for reimbursement and monetary damages and were denied.”

They now are seeking unspecified monetary damages for psychological and economic harm.

“Plaintiffs have not found a better life or a business professional job as a result of the program,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiffs incurred substantial debt as a result of fraudulent misrepresentation by Bates.”

Bates has been the target of similar lawsuits over the past dozen years.

In 2002, the college agreed to pay out $1.25 million to 15 former disgruntled students of its denturist program. A $170,000 settlement to students of its court-reporting program followed in 2007. A year later, former students of its civil engineering technician and surveying program won a $500,000 settlement.