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Delta School of Commerce, Inc. v. Wood
Arkansas Supreme Court
766 S.W.2d 424 (1989)
Steve McCray (defendant) was the president of Delta School of Commerce, Inc. (Delta) (defendant), a school that offered a nursing-assistant program. Earlene Wood (plaintiff) was interested in Delta’s nursing-assistant program and made an appointment to discuss the program with McCray. During the appointment, Wood asked McCray if a nursing assistant was the same as a nurse’s aide. McCray told her that it was not, the state of Arkansas was phasing out licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and replacing them with nursing assistants, and the pay for a nursing assistant would be similar to an LPN’s pay. Based on McCray’s statements, Wood enrolled in Delta’s nursing-assistant program, taking out a student loan to pay her tuition. Wood dropped out of the program upon discovering that nursing assistants were in fact the same as nurse’s aides. Wood was learning to empty bedpans, make beds, and take vitals. In contrast, an LPN learns to assist in surgery and administer medications. Wood sued McCray and Delta for fraudulently inducing her to enroll in Delta’s nursing-assistant program. During trial, McCray denied telling Wood that nursing assistants would take the place of LPNs, but he claimed to have heard it questioned whether or not LPNs were being phased out. Maxine Ottey, director of nursing practice with the Arkansas Board of Nursing, testified that LPNs certainly could not be replaced with nursing assistants. Following trial, the jury found in Wood’s favor, awarding her the cost of her tuition in compensatory damages and $50,000 in punitive damages. Delta and McCray appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Holt, C.J.)
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