ATLANTA, Sept. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Dalton Education, a leading provider of education solutions in financial planning, is pleased to announce that the Honorable James D. Peterson in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in Madison granted Dalton Education's motion for summary judgment on nearly every issue raised in its defense of a trade secret misappropriation case brought against the company over a year ago by Kaplan Professional.
The Court ruled in three important areas:
- Claims dismissed: the court dismissed the vast majority of all of the claims asserted by Kaplan,
- Noncompete agreements unenforceable: the court found Kaplan's noncompete agreements with its employees to be out of compliance with Wisconsin law and therefore unenforceable in part, and
- Zero damages: the court dismissed Kaplan's claims for damages on all of its claims.
Given the Court's overwhelming decision against it, Kaplan subsequently agreed to voluntarily dismiss outright the few remaining claims as part of a comprehensive settlement agreement. Following the dismissal of Kaplan's claims on August 31, 2021, Judge Peterson entered judgment against Kaplan and in Dalton's favor on all of the remaining claims asserted against Dalton in the case.
According to Joseph Gillice, Dalton Education's president, "We are thrilled with Judge Peterson's decision and his entry of judgment in our favor and vindicating Dalton. He ruled based on facts of the case, not rhetoric, false accusations and the many unsubstantiated claims made by Kaplan during the litigation. It's our belief that Kaplan used this lawsuit in an attempt to tarnish our reputation, intimidate Kaplan's employees to not come to work for Dalton Education, and stifle competition in the CFA exam prep industry."
When Kaplan first filed its case against Dalton, it falsely asserted in a press release that Dalton had engaged in a "scheme" to hire Kaplan employees to secure Kaplan trade secrets to compete against Kaplan. The Court recognized Kaplan could not provide any evidence to support any of its baseless claims, and thus ruled against the company. After this loss, Kaplan has again issued a press release, claiming it pursued the litigation only to secure certain commitments from Dalton regarding the use of information and convince Dalton to terminate certain former Kaplan employees. In fact, Dalton had already committed to take those actions independently well over a year ago.
Notwithstanding those voluntary actions by Dalton, Kaplan continued to prosecute its claims against Dalton and, in so doing, wasted the resources of Dalton, the Court and the citizens of Wisconsin during an additional year of protracted and unnecessary litigation. Kaplan went so far as to seek substantial monetary damages from Dalton to no avail. As noted above, the court completely rejected Kaplan's request for damages in its entirety in ruling on Dalton's summary judgment motion. Kaplan ultimately agreed to dismiss the only remaining claims in the case in order to convince Dalton to release its claim for attorneys' fees based on Kaplan's continued pursuit of this litigation in bad faith.
Gillice noted his disappointment with Kaplan's latest press announcement that touts the parties' settlement, but makes no reference to the Court's summary judgment decision. "Since the case was filed, we have always tried to convince Kaplan to compete in the marketplace, rather than in the courts or in the media through the pursuit of baseless or unnecessary claims. We hoped the Court's sweeping summary judgment decision against Kaplan would cause it to be more cautious. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Indeed, Kaplan's latest press release represents nothing more than a blatant attempt to try to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The commitments we made in the settlement document were commitments we had already made voluntarily over a year ago. More importantly, the settlement document that Kaplan touts actually helped us secure a complete victory over Kaplan, leading to the voluntary dismissal, with prejudice, of the few remaining claims Kaplan had in the case and a waiver of Kaplan's right to appeal the Court's summary judgment decision."
Mr. Gillice went on to note: "Over the last several years, Dalton Education has been inundated with requests from Kaplan employees seeking a place of employment with personal and professional opportunities and a great culture. Dalton has and will continue to win market share from Kaplan by employing a team of ethical professionals that care about their customers, developing great products that deliver best-in-class learning outcomes, and valuing the people that make Dalton so successful. We look forward to competing in the market as we roll out our exciting new, innovative CFA test preparation program to many of our financial institution customers."
About Dalton Education
Dalton Education is a leading provider of education solutions for financial planning and insurance professionals. The company partners with some of the nation's premier universities to deliver the highest quality of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP® certification) education and offers the industry-leading Dalton Review® for the CFP® exam. The Dalton Review®, designed by former members of the CFP Board of Examiners, is the industry's most comprehensive CFP® exam review, and the only one to offer students a predicted probability of passing the exam. Students scoring 60% or higher on Dalton's predictor exam have an 88% pass rate on the actual exam. As a result of the comprehensive review, over half of Dalton's students score 60% or higher on the predictor. Dalton Education's high-quality curriculum and instruction have consistently led to the highest CFP® exam pass rates in the country, with over 90% of Dalton Education students ultimately becoming a CFP® professional. It is the only education provider in the nation to offer a 100% money-back guarantee that students will pass the CFP® exam through its Guarantee to Pass™ Education and Review programs. Dalton Education also offers education courses for the Capstone requirement (required by the CFP Board for all Challenge Candidates), continuing education courses for the CFP Board Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct for CFP® Professionals.
SOURCE Dalton Education