Bar exam software snafu sparks multiple lawsuits

Test-takers suffered 'severe emotional distress' from ExamSoft's system issues, according to one class action suit

Woe be to the software vendor who aggravates the mental status of recent law school grads.

A number of aspiring attorneys have filed lawsuits seeking class-action status and millions of dollars in damages against software maker ExamSoft after a series of technical problems last week temporarily prevented them from uploading their completed bar examinations.

Court records show at least three suits have been filed against the bar exam software vendor this week following widespread outcry from test-takers on social media and law-related websites, who railed against ExamSoft for making their lives just that much harder on an already stressful day.

ExamSoft's "wholly insufficient" infrastructure suffered from a "total collapse" on the examination day, according to one of the lawsuits, which was filed on behalf of test-taker Phillip Litchfield in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

The company "knew well in advance of Exam Day exactly how many applicants had registered and paid to use the SofTest program," and should have made the necessary preparations to handle the load, it states.

Some applicants weren't able to upload their tests until the second day of the bar exam, while others weren't able to make their state's submission deadline, although most states ended up extending it by a day, the suit adds.

Overall, ExamSoft's failure caused them "significant emotional distress" amounting to more than US$5 million in damages, it adds.

ExamSoft didn't respond to a request for comment for this story.

It's not clear whether the company anticipated being hit with a series of lawsuits over the flap.

ExamSoft posted a number of updates on the situation last week as the system issues occurred, as well as an apology to customers.

"First and foremost, we apologize for the upload delays which occurred after your exams on Tuesday night," ExamSoft said on its website. "The delay in processing did not relate to, or impact, answer content, and we are therefore very confident in the integrity of your exam submissions."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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