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Attorney General William Tong


Attorney General Tong Secures $5 Million Prejudgment Remedy in Case Against Stone Academy

(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong today announced the State has secured a $5 million prejudgment remedy against Stone Academy, affirming the strength of the State’s case against the defunct for-profit nursing school.

Attorney General Tong sued Stone Academy, Paier College of Art and their owner Joseph Bierbaum last year following the abrupt closure of the school, alleging numerous violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. The State asked the court to attach millions of dollars of Stone’s and Bierbaum’s assets during the pendency of the litigation to prevent defendants from offloading or shifting resources to evade accountability.

In granting the $5 million prejudgment remedy, Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis stated that the State has established probable cause that it will prevail in its case against Stone. Defendants “materially misrepresented to consumers significant aspects of Stone Academy’s practical nursing program,” she wrote. She further stated that the State “acted reasonably in refusing to allow Stone Academy to offer a teach-out… the fact that the State did not authorize a teach-out does not excuse the misconduct of the PJR defendants.” Further, Judge Bellis specifically found that Stone and Bierbaum violated the law “knowingly,” concluding that the problems at Stone were not simply “consequences relating to the [COVID-19] pandemic” as they have claimed.

Significantly, the Court found that “Stone Academy failed to provide the instruction and clinical training that it promised their students.” In addition, Stone Academy misrepresented significant aspects of its “practical nursing program including, the hands-on clinical hours and experience promised in its marketing materials” and its ability to provide students with “qualified faculty.”

“The magnitude of this prejudgment remedy and the strong words in this decision send a clear message to Stone Academy and its owners—you knowingly broke the law, you harmed students, and you will be held accountable. We are demanding millions of dollars in penalties and recovery of ill-gotten gains, and we’re going to fight for every measure of justice possible,” said Attorney General Tong.
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