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Forum News Service, Published February 25 2014

Judge rejects Globe University's appeal in whistleblower case

STILLWATER, Minn. - A Washington County District Court judge ruled this month that Globe University must pay more than $500,000 in attorneys’ fees and related costs to a former dean who brought a whistleblower lawsuit against the school last year.

Judge Tad Jude also denied the Woodbury-based school a motion for a new trial involving the same dean, who sued the school alleging violation of state whistleblower laws, according to court documents.

Heidi Weber was already awarded nearly $400,000 in damages by a jury when the case went to trial last August.

The school had argued that the jury’s award included punitive damages, but Jude noted the jury was well-informed that the case wasn’t a punitive damages case.

Weber filed the lawsuit in 2011, alleging the school retaliated against her, and violated the Minnesota Whistleblower Act, for making good faith reports.

She alleged that Globe falsely advertises job placement rates, recruits students with “sales representatives,” not admission counselors, and sells “dreams” to students even if they don’t have the aptitude to complete the programs or land top-paying jobs.

University officials said in a statement that they continue to stand by what they argued during the trial and are considering an appeal.