Clayton College of Natural Health




Claims Administrator Completes Claim Process
and Begins Issuing Checks

The Garden City Group, Inc. (“GCG”), the Court-appointed claims administrator responsible for processing claims in the settlement of the class action arising from the sudden closure of Clayton College of Natural Health, Inc. (“CCNH”), has informed Class Counsel that it has completed its claim process. GCG has indicated that it will begin mailing awards to claimants starting on Friday, June 29, 2012. GCG has further reported that it received 5,332 claims, including 5,261 claims that were determined by the Court to be timely in its Final Order entered on May 25, 2012.

GCG has indicated that it will be sending settlement payments to 4,871 claimants who have been determined by GCG to be Group A or Group B claimants whose “My Tuition Amount” claims were approved by GCG during the claim administration process. Each such Group A and Group B Claimant will receive a pro rata or proportionate share of their “My Tuition Amount” approved by GCG. Each Group A and Group B claimant’s proportionate share will come from net settlement funds totaling $1,550,991.30. According to GCG, the aggregate Total Tuition Amount for all Group A and Group B claimants whose claims were approved by GCG is $18,640,766.67. The process for calculating Group A and Group B claimant awards was detailed further on pages 7 and 8 of the Class Notice and on page 6 of the Court’s Final Order entered on May 25, 2012.

The mailings from GCG also will contain information about tuition discount and credit transfer opportunities available to approved claimants at two other natural health schools, neither of which is affiliated with or connected to CCNH.

Claimants with questions may contact GCG in writing at Clayton College Class Action Claims, c/o The Garden City Group, Inc., P.O. Box 9790, Dublin, OH 43017-5690, or call (888) 714-2544.


Court Grants Final Approval to Settlement

On May 25, 2012, United States Magistrate Judge Harwell G. Davis, III issued a final order granting final approval to the settlement reached in Goldberg v. Clayton College of Natural Health, Inc., Case No. 2:10-cv-02990-HGD. Judge Davis ruled that the settlement is fair, adequate and reasonable. The settlement creates a $2.31 million Settlement Fund and provides for claimants to receive tuition discounts and credit transfer opportunities at two other natural health schools. A copy of the Court’s 43-page opinion can be reviewed here.

In light of the Court’s entry of the final order, the Court-appointed Claims Administrator, Garden City Group, is now making final calculations and determinations with regard to 5,261 claimants who submitted claims to the Claims Administrator that the Court has ruled may be entitled to benefits. Pursuant to the Court’s final order, claimants may receive distributions from a fund totaling $1,552,136.86, following Court-approved payment of attorney fees and costs. A method for calculating distributions was approved by the Court and is set forth on pages 7 and 8 of the Class Notice, which can be reviewed here.

Garden City Group currently anticipates completing its calculations and determinations by June 30, 2012, and mailing checks to claimants soon thereafter.

Questions with regard to the remaining claims process can be directed to Garden City Group at (888) 714-2544. This website will also be periodically updated.
In November 2010, a class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama in Birmingham, seeking recoveries on behalf of thousands of adults enrolled in prepaid distance education programs at Clayton College of Natural Health, Inc. The lawsuit comes in the wake of CCNH’s announcement in July 2010 that it was suddenly closing the school and its distance education programs after more than 20 years
of operation.
Clayton College of Natural Health

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

On November 15, 2011, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama certified this case as a class action and granted preliminary approval of a settlement in the case. The settlement, reached through negotiations with a mediator, will create a settlement fund from which claimants can seek compensation, among other benefits. A formal Class Notice from the Court regarding the settlement has been mailed. 


Class Counsel for the former students are Thomas H. Howlett and Dean M. Googasian of The Googasian Firm, P.C.  Joining The Googasian Firm in pursuit of the lawsuit as local counsel is the Birmingham, Alabama-based law firm, Quinn, Connor, Weaver, Davies & Rouco, LLC.

According to the lawsuit, CCNH marketed its 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. In its 2008 catalog, CCNH stated that, “At CCNH, the self-paced programs are designed to fit your schedule, so that any part of the day becomes study time and assignments may be submitted at your convenience. In order to help you organize your studies and ‘stay on track,’ degree programs are divided into phases. Although you must complete the phases of your program sequentially, there is no requirement that you take every course in the order it appears in the phase. It is our expectation that you will complete all phases of each individual degree program within five years. At CCNH, you enroll, study, and progress on your schedule, not ours.” But the sudden closure of CCNH precludes these students from completing the distance education programs for which they had paid and devoted considerable time and effort, the lawsuit alleges.

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.

In accordance with Alabama State Bar requirements, no representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. ARPC 7.2 (e).