from the Order Entered August 10, 2016 In the Court of Common
Pleas of Lackawanna County Civil Division at No(s):
BEFORE: SHOGAN and MOULTON, JJ., and STEVENS,
McCabe ("McCabe") appeals from the order sustaining
preliminary objections filed by Marywood University
("Marywood") and dismissing her claims for breach
of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, violation
of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law
("UTPCPL"), unjust enrichment, and promissory
estoppel. We affirm.
is a private university in Scranton, Lackawanna County,
Pennsylvania. It operates a department of nursing, providing
academic and clinical courses in support of a Bachelor of
Science Degree in Nursing ("the nursing program").
Upon graduation, nursing students take the National Council
Licensure Examination ("NCLEX") in order to obtain
a license to practice nursing. Prior to 2010, the nursing
program was fully accredited by the National League for
Nursing Accreditation Commission ("NLNAC"),
currently known as the Accreditation Commission for Education
in Nursing. Marywood underwent an NLNAC accreditation review
in the spring of 2010, after which NLNAC granted it
accreditation until 2018 with conditions. Marywood had two
years in which to make changes to the nursing program or its
NLNAC accreditation would be revoked. As of the fall of 2010,
Marywood continued to represent on its website and in its
printed literature that the nursing program was accredited,
without defining or qualifying that status. McCabe entered
Marywood as a nursing student in August of 2011. On November
13, 2011, chair of the nursing department, Dr. Mary Alice
Golden, R.N., informed current and prospective students by
letter that Marywood's accreditation status with the
Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing had been downgraded to
"provisional" as a result of a lower passing rate
on the NCLEX. Two days later, Dr. Golden issued a
clarification letter, explaining that the
"provisional" state nursing board status had no
effect on the nursing program's NLNAC accreditation
November of 2012, an NLNAC Evaluation Review Panel
("ERP") inspected Marywood for the purpose of
evaluating the nursing program's accreditation status. On
January 30, 2013, Marywood learned that the ERP was
recommending revocation of Marywood's NLNAC
accreditation. On April 2, 2013, NLNAC notified Marywood that
the nursing program's accreditation had been revoked for
failing to meet certain standards and criteria. On April 10,
2013, a few weeks before McCabe's second-year final
exams, Marywood informed the nursing program students that it
had lost NLNAC accreditation. Marywood then timely appealed
the revocation on April 22, 2013. Pursuant to NLNAC policy,
Marywood's appeal restored its conditional accreditation
with warning status during the pendency of the appeal. In
August of 2014, the NLNAC restored the nursing program's
full accreditation. Of note, had Marywood not prevailed on
appeal, revocation of the nursing program's accreditation
would have been retroactive to April 2, 2013.
result of the nursing program's conditional accreditation
status, McCabe chose not to return to Marywood in the fall of
2013. Instead, she transferred to another school. On April
20, 2016, McCabe filed suit against Marywood for damages,
i.e., the various expenses incurred as a result of
transferring schools, as well as a loss of income and
employment opportunities due to her delayed graduation.
Marywood filed preliminary objections on May 24, 2016, which
the trial court sustained. This appeal followed. McCabe and
the trial court complied with Pa.R.A.P. 1925.
raises the following issues for our consideration:
I. Whether the trial court erred in finding that Ms. McCabe
did not plead sufficient facts to establish a duty on
Marywood to provide Ms. McCabe with an education from a
fully-accredited nursing program?
II. Whether the trial court erred in finding that Ms. McCabe
did not suffer harm as a result of her reliance on fraudulent
misrepresentations made by Marywood?
III. Whether the trial court erred in finding that Marywood
was not unjustly enriched by receiving tuition from Ms.
McCabe despite falsely representing its accreditation status
and ultimately losing its accreditation?
IV. Whether the trial court erred in dismissing Ms.
McCabe's claim for promissory estoppel when Marywood
falsely represented its accreditation status and ultimately
lost its accreditation?
Brief at 4 (full capitalization omitted).
standard and scope of review over a trial court's
decision to sustain a litigant's ...