The 11th Circuit Dismissed a Lawsuit Accusing a Tech Company of Georgia’s Bar Exam Grading Errors

Law grads who were wrongly told that they failed the Georgia bar exam cannot recover damages against the software company they accused of producing the incorrect scores, the 11th Circuit has ruled last week. The per curiam opinion upheld dismissal of claims in a would-be class action for ordinary negligence, strict liability, negligent design and defamation.

The alleged glitch occurred during a rescoring process on the July 2015 and February 2016 bar exams.

Under Georgia’s scoring system, anyone who fails to get a 115 on the multistate exam automatically fails and the essays are not graded. Essays are scored for those with multistate scores above the cutoff. Those who are within five points of the passing grade of 270 get their essays regraded, and the higher essay score is used.

The plaintiffs alleged in their suit that, because of a software glitch, the regraded essays were not properly taken into consideration. They blamed the company, ILG Technologies, for the mishap.

The appeals court said the plaintiffs’ claims for defamation failed because they were unable to show that ILG Technologies published the bar exam results. ILG Technologies had transmitted the results to Georgia’s Office of Bar Admissions, which published the faulty information.

The plaintiffs’ other claims failed because of Georgia’s economic loss rule, which generally bars recovery by people suing over a contractual duty when they are not parties to the contract, the appeals court said.

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