Dayton Daily News

Former students sue Columbus State over defunct dental lab tech program

- By Jennifer Smola

A group of former COLUMBUS — Columbus State Community College students has alleged that a now-defunct dental lab technician program was “grossly inadequate” and not what the school advertised.

A lawsuit filed this week in the Ohio Court of Claims lists 10 plaintiffs who attended the final session of Columbus State’s Dental lab Technician Program during the 2012-13 school year. The students allege the program had inadequate instructor­s and utilized faulty and outdated equipment.

The plaintiffs also argue they were not taught the skills necessary to prepare them to be dental lab technician­s. “All they received was a certificat­e that wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on,” the complaint said, adding that students have “been damaged financiall­y” and “had their reputation­s and images negatively affected.”

The suit alleged Columbus State knowingly sold “a program they knew to be defective,” and “proceeded to close down the program while it was still underway.”

The college did not provide employment opportunit­ies or assistance as it promised, the suit alleges, and when attempting to find work in the field, students “have been repeatedly humiliated by their lack of actual knowledge or skill in the field of dental lab technology.”

The suit alleges multiple counts of non-performanc­e, fraud, unjust enrichment, unfair or deceptive acts and deceptive trade practice actions. The plaintiffs are seeking restitutio­n in the amount of tuition paid, interest on that tuition, and punitive damages totaling approximat­ely three times the amount of tuition, according to the complaint.

The college hadn’t been served with the complaint as of Wednesday. A magistrate’s order filed Tuesday indicated the plaintiffs needed to file an amended complaint with a complete service address for the defendant.

Columbus State spokesman Brent Wilder said in an email Wednesday that the school had not been served, but was aware of the filing. Wilder confirmed the college closed the Dental Lab Technician Program in 2013, and said the program had never lost its accreditat­ion. He did not comment further.

The plaintiffs had originally filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court in 2016. That case was dismissed for lack of jurisdicti­on.

The students suing the college are a diverse group, from those who were young adults at the time to profession­als hoping to make a career switch, said their attorney, Todd Olsen.

“This program was on its way out, but they still enticed these students to come, still took their money, didn’t provide the services as advertised,” Olsen said. “They didn’t live up to the standards of the industry.”

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