Judge Grants MTD in Student Loan Collection Case

A District Court judge in Connecticut has granted a motion to dismiss filed by a collection agency, a student loan servicer, and the plaintiff’s employer for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by attempting to garnish the plaintiff’s wages, because the statute of limitations on filing a claim had passed when the lawsuit was filed.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Hagwood-El v. Allied Interstate, Incorporated et al can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff signed three promissory notes for student loans in 1992 and 1994. Then, between 2006 and 2019, there were a series of attempts to try and collect on the unpaid debts, while the plaintiff claims that the debts were “discharged” in 2006. The plaintiff accused Allied of contacting his employer in 2014 and sharing information about the debt with the human resources manager, which allegedly resulted in disciplinary action and being mis-treated by co-workers.

Beginning in August 2019, the defendants started garnishing the plaintiff’s pay checks more regularly, at which point he filed the suit against the defendants, alleging violations of the FDCPA and the Connecticut Creditors’ Collection Practices Act. It should probably be noted that the motion to dismiss was filed after the plaintiff filed his seventh amended complaint.

Many of the claims made by the plaintiff in his complaint were barred by the FDCPA’s one-year statute of limitations, which starts on the day the violation allegedly occurred. The CCPA also has a one-year statute of limitation that starts under the same circumstances.

Given that many of the claims were time-barred and that most of the defendants were not debt collectors as defined under the FDCPA, Judge Jeffrey Meyer of the District Court for the District of Connecticut made short work of the plaintiff’s arguments.

As for the claims that are not time-barred, which mainly center around the garnishment of his wages in 2019, he had no proof that the debt was “discharged,” other than proof that nothing was garnished from his wages in 2006. He never alleged the debt was paid, that he filed for bankruptcy protection, or other “factual basis” to prove the debt was discharged, therefore failing to state a plausible FDCPA claim, Judge Meyer ruled.

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