Indianapolis, Indiana – Attorneys for Plaintiff, National Federation of Professional Trainers, Inc. (“NFPT”) of Lafayette, Indiana, filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana alleging that Defendant, Carrington College, Inc. (“Carrington”) of Sacramento, California, infringed its rights in United States Copyright Registration No. TX 8-515-798 (“NFPT 0241 Exam”). Plaintiff further alleges misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, and fraud. Plaintiff is seeking damages, profits received from unauthorized copying and distribution of the copyrighted work, attorney’s fees, costs, and injunctive relief.
NFPT creates and administers examinations for the certification of personal trainers. Their certification programs have been accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies since 2005. Carrington has utilized NFPT’s examinations and educational materials as a part of its Physical Therapy Technology Program. At the end of the course, students were able to sit for the NFPT certification exam for the opportunity to become a certified personal trainer upon obtaining a “passing” score.
Carrington administered an NFPT examination December 10, 2015 via their proctor, Mr. Phillip Schauer (“Schauer”). As proctor, Schauer had to sign a confidential disclosure agreement, which included maintaining the confidentiality of the exams and not duplicating any of the testing materials. The December 10, 2015 exam produced extremely abnormal results for the students’ test scores. Of the twenty-six candidates, fifteen had identical or similar response strings while the remaining candidates response strings differed by a maximum of four responses out of 120. All of the candidates obtained a “passing” score. Due to the abnormalities in the results, NFPT voided the results and required all candidates to retake the examination with new questions on August 26, 2016. Only six candidates chose to retake the exam and of those, only two obtained a passing score.
After further investigation, NFPT discovered that employees of Carrington, including Schauer had made copies of the NFPT examinations and distributed them for their students to memorize. NFPT also found that Schauer had a criminal history including fraud, false statements, and theft by misrepresentation, which was overlooked or never looked into by Carrington. In response to the results of their investigation, NFPT sent Carrington a demand letter on September 12, 2017. Included in that letter, NFPT informed Carrington that they would no longer be providing educational or certifying examination materials to the school. Further, NFPT demanded all NFPT materials remaining on campus be collected and returned to NFPT immediately. Carrington failed to respond to that letter and this suit was filed in response.