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ExamSoft hit with class actions over ‘barmageddon’

UPDATE: There have now been three class actions filed against ExamSoft, the latest one in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The complaint in this case echoes the other two, claiming that because the company’s software did not perform correctly and because ExamSoft was “wholly incompetent and ineffectual in addressing the major collapse of its systems,” those affected by the delays deserve compensation.

After last week’s bar exam software debacle — dubbed “barmageddon” and “barghazi” by Twitter users — ExamSoft, the company whose software failed to upload many test takers’ responses from the first day of the exam by individual states’ deadlines, has been hit with class action lawsuits in Illinois, Washington state and California.

Law blog Above the Law first reported that a lawsuit was filed against Boca Raton, Florida-based ExamSoft in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. That suit, Litchfield v. ExamSoft Worldwide, claims the software company knew exactly how many users would be uploading their responses from the exam, and therefore should have ensured its system was able to handle a flood of uploads in a short amount of time.

ExamSoft said the delays did not affect the content of students’ answers, and many states (including Maryland) extended their deadlines for uploading responses to account for widespread issues with the software. However, the complaint says the plaintiff and others affected deserve compensation for financial damages, as well as the “stress, anxiety, and emotional distress” they suffered.

“Plaintiff Phillip Litchfield and the Class paid Defendant for a product that had a single purpose: submitting bar exam responses in a timely and reliable manner. That product woefully underperformed any reasonable expectation of its performance, thereby causing Plaintiff and the Class significant emotional distress and depriving Plaintiff and the Class of a significant portion of the value of the product they paid for. In response, Plaintiff, on behalf of himself and the Class, filed the instant lawsuit seeking actual damages together with costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.”

Although no suit has yet been filed in Maryland, a federal case search turned up a second class action suit against ExamSoft, this one filed in the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. Just two days later, a third was filed in California.

In Maryland, test takers who wished to use their own laptops instead of handwriting their exam responses paid a $125 fee for the software, in addition to the standard bar exam fee of $225.