Nova founder ordered to pay damages to former students

Kyodo

The Osaka High Court has ordered the founder of the Nova Corp. chain of English-language schools and three other persons to pay ¥19 million in damages to former Nova students, reversing a lower court ruling.

The 27 former plaintiffs became Nova students from 2002 to the chain’s bankruptcy in 2007 and canceled their contracts without prepaid tuition fees being refunded.

Nova founder and former President Nozomu Sahashi, 62, convicted of embezzlement, is responsible for paying the damages, including prepaid tuition fees, because he engaged in illegal practices that led Nova to fail, presiding Judge Ikuo Yamashita of the Osaka High Court said Thursday.

A ruling by the Osaka District Court in June 2012 had rejected the ¥21 million damages suit filed by the former students.

Nova went bankrupt in October 2007 and its business operations have been taken over by another company, with 265 schools still in operation under the Nova brand.