Test Prep Company Files Suit against David Hall and Velocity Test Prep for Advertising False Test Scores

Robin Singh, founder and owner of TestMasters, one of the nation's largest LSAT test preparation companies, has filed suit in California state court against David Hall and his company, Velocity Test Prep LLC, for allegedly defrauding students preparing to take the LSAT. The complaint accuses Hall of making false and misleading statements about his LSAT scores to promote his test preparation services and of forging documents to prove that his scores were legitimate, harming consumers and plaintiff's reputation as well as diverting profits away from plaintiff's business.

Defendant advertised his test preparation services mainly online through internet postings on two websites - Velocity's own velocitylsat.com, and the website Top-Law-Schools.com, a popular internet discussion board with prospective law students studying for the LSAT. The complaint states that Hall repeatedly misrepresented to consumers the scores he achieved on the LSAT, including claiming he received a perfect score of 180 on the September 2009 LSAT, an extremely difficult achievement. Hall also claimed that he received this score without missing any questions, an even rarer accomplishment. In order to add legitimacy to his claims and to promote his services, Hall used an image manipulation program to forge and post online official documents produced by LSAC, the organization that administers the LSAT. The complaint alleges that on the September 2009 exam, Hall actually received a score of 177, not 180, and failed to answer four questions, not zero.

The complaint alleges that not only did Hall claim to have earned a perfect score on the September 2009 LSAT, he also started a discussion thread on Top-Law-Schools.com where he claimed to have achieved three perfect scores on past exams. When internet commenters began to doubt his claims, Hall fabricated and publicly posted a screenshot of his prior LSAT scores showing three perfect scores. When this led to further inquiries about his performance, Hall then posted a false score report showing his answers to each question on the September 2009 LSAT. The complaint further states that when plaintiff threatened Hall with legal action regarding his advertisements, Hall only removed some of the misstatements made, and has failed to post and disseminate prominent and clear corrections, resulting in further consumer confusion.

The complaint states that defendant's statements and forgeries created a large amount of free publicity for Velocity, and resulted in consumers drawing comparisons between Hall's accomplishments and those of Robin Singh. Plaintiff alleges that Hall's actions were made with the intention of generating such comparisons and capitalizing on the reputation and goodwill of Singh and TestMasters, causing damage to plaintiff's business and eroding its ability to distinguish itself from its competitors.

Plaintiff has requested treble damages, attorney fees and costs based on its claims of false representations and unfair competition in violation of the California Business and Professionals Code, the Lanham Act and California common law. Plaintiff has also requested that Hall return all profits he received from consumers under false pretenses and seeks an injunction prohibiting defendants from making further misrepresentations.

The complaint states that Hall maintains he made the misleading statements because he had been certain he earned a perfect score on the 2009 exam, only to later learn that he had been mistaken. He claims that his forgeries were based on this honest but mistaken belief. Even if Hall's claims are true, advertisers should steer clear of making public statements about their products or services without sufficient evidence to support such statements.

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