Creditor Could be Liable for Violating Discharge Injunction, Even if the Debt Does Not Exist

Creditor Could be Liable for Violating Discharge Injunction, Even if the Debt Does Not Exist

Debtor alleges Navient Solutions, LLC violated the discharge injunction granted at the completion of her chapter 13 case. Debtor also seeks to have her student loans discharged because of undue hardship. Navient filed a motion to dismiss Debtor’s complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Navient’s motion to dismiss is denied.

Background        Debtor filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy on November 30, 2010, and listed two debts on her schedules owed to Sallie Mae for student loans in the amounts of $244,351.00 and $3,700.00. Debtor’s schedules also listed her ex-husband  as a co-debtor for these claims. Debtor completed the payments required under her chapter 13 plan and on April 4, 2016, received a discharge and a closure of her bankruptcy case.

Sallie Mae subsequently assigned Debtor’s debt to Navient, which then sought to collect on a balance of approximately $291,995.39 it claims Debtor owed on her student loans. Debtor admits that she owes some money on her student loan debts. However, she disputes the amount Navient claims is owed, alleging that her ex-husband fraudulently consolidated these student loans and added to the balances in her name “without her knowledge, consent, or signature.”  After discovering the consolidated loan, Debtor moved the Court to re-open her bankruptcy case and filed this adversary proceeding against Navient.  Debtor‘s complaint alleges that payment of these student loans constitutes an undue hardship and should be dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(8).  In response, Navient filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

Jurisdiction        Navient argues that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear this issue because the debt owed is a non-dischargeable educational loan that is not subject to the discharge injunction.

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