Update: Court Enters Judgment in Favor of Class. On January 6, 2016, the Court entered a default judgment against Global College of Natural Medicine and owner Heather Johnstone and in favor of class members in the amount of $1.42 million. A copy of the judgment can be found here. The Court stated in its 42-page opinion and order that “Plaintiff has doggedly and thoroughly followed the procedures required to secure a default judgment.” The opinion and order can be found here. The Court also noted in its opinion that “Plaintiff and the other class members have been waiting three years for relief in this matter given that Defendants never refunded the pre-paid tuition received from class members after GCNM closed. Defendants, meanwhile, have consistently failed to respond to any filings in this case, prolonging its litigation.”


It is presently not known whether GCNM and Johnstone have assets available to satisfy the judgment and compensate class members. Plaintiff’s counsel will be attempting to identify and recover assets in the next phase of the litigation. In the event that assets are recovered, the Court and class members will be provided with notification. Updates will be posted to this website in the event of the recovery of assets. At the present time, class members do not need to take any action to be eligible to make a claim for compensation in the event that assets are recovered.

Entry of the default judgment follows the Court’s certification of the case as a class action on April 10, 2015. The case was certified as a class action on behalf of students enrolled at GCNM at the time the school closed. A copy of the Court’s Class Certification Order can be found here. The Court also ordered a class notice to be sent to class members by mail. On May 19, 2015, the Court approved a class notice which explains what the class action means for class members and how the class action may affect their rights. The Class Notice was mailed to the addresses of more than 1,400 former students. A copy of the Class Notice can be found here.
 

 

In February 2013, a class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, seeking recoveries on behalf of thousands of adults enrolled in prepaid, self-paced distance education programs at Global College of Natural Medicine, Inc.. The lawsuit comes in the wake of GCNM's announcement in November 2012 that it was suddenly closing the school and its self-paced distance education programs after many years of operation.

The lawsuit alleges that at the time of the closing, GCNM had already collected millions of dollars in tuition from Plaintiffs and a class of similarly situated persons for pre-paid programs that GCNM stopped providing. After the abrupt termination of its self-paced distance education programs, GCNM failed to refund tuition, according to the lawsuit.

Plaintiffs' counsel in the lawsuit are Thomas H. Howlett and Dean M. Googasian of The Googasian Firm, P.C., who may be contacted by calling 1 877 540 8333, or by clicking here or sending an e mail to GCNMlawsuit@googasian.com.

Defendants in the lawsuit are GCNM and Heather Johnstone, who is identified as director, owner, chief executive officer and chief operating officer of GCNM.

According to the lawsuit, GCNM marketed its self-paced programs as affording students the ability to learn and pursue degree and certificate programs with flexibility as to the time within which they were completed. But the sudden closure of GCNM precludes these students from completing the self-paced distance education programs for which they had paid and devoted considerable time and effort, the lawsuit alleges.

If you have a concern about experiences with GCNM, click here to share these concerns.

The lawsuit asserts breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and other claims, and seeks compensation for the tuition amounts paid for programs that are no longer available and for Plaintiffs' loss of time and opportunity, among other damages. A copy of the lawsuit can be found by clicking here.