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J.V. Hamer v. Navient Corp.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

August 23, 2018

J.V. HAMER, Plaintiff,
v.
NAVIENT CORPORATION, Defendant.

          J.V. Hamer, Paoli, Pennsylvania; Pro Se Plaintiff.

          Joelle Eileen Polesky, Esquire, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP, Wilmington, Delaware, Counsel for Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS U.S DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff J. V. Hamer, who appears pro se, filed this action In October 2017, in the Justice of the Peace Court of the State of Delaware in and for New Castle County. Defendant Navient Corporation removed the matter to this Court on February 5, 2018. (D.I. 1). The Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Pending is Defendant's motion to dismiss and Plaintiff's opposition. (D.I. 3, 4, 7). The matter has been fully briefed. For the reasons discussed below, the Court will grant Defendant's motion. Plaintiff will be given leave to file an amended complaint.

         BACKGROUND

         This action concerns five federally guaranteed student loans Plaintiff secured from Sallie Mae Corporation, the predecessor of Defendant. The loan process began when Plaintiff was 17 and continued while he pursued his education. (D.I. 1-1 at¶ 10). Plaintiff alleges he was told by Sallie Mae representatives that following his graduation, his loans would be forgiven after five years of qualified public service such as a career in education, military service, or other public service. (Id. at ¶ 11). Plaintiff's great-aunt is a co-signer for one of the loans.[1] (Id. at ¶ 16). Plaintiff began repaying his loans on January 7, 2005. (Id. at ¶ 12). He alleges that despite repeated demands, Defendant did not reveal to him how, and in what manner, the payments were applied to his loans. (Id.)

         In June 2006, Plaintiff enrolled in a master's degree program and requested forbearance while he completed the program. (Id. at ¶ 13). He alleges that notwithstanding the forbearance agreement, Defendant incessantly telephoned him day, night, and weekends demanding payment even though he was enrolled in a duly recognized program at a duly recognized institution of higher learning. (Id.). Following completion of the master's degree, Plaintiff resumed payments on the five loans beginning October 15, 2007. (Id. at¶ 14).

         On or about April 30, 2014, Sallie Mae "spun off its loan servicing operation and most of its loan portfolio into a separate publicly traded company called Navient." (Id. at ¶ 7). On or about October 13, 2014, Sallie Mae assigned all its federal loans to Navient for servicing and collection. (Id. at ¶ 15).

         Plaintiff is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education and is in the process of researching and writing his thesis. (Id. at¶ 17). He alleges that "Navient's recalcitrance and unlawful behavior has continued to cause [him] problems at his home and at his place of business." (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that, since 2005, he has repaid over $30, 000, but has not been given credit for his payments. (Id. at ¶ 18). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant reported to all three major credit bureaus that he is delinquent and in arrears in loan payments while he has attempted in good faith to work out a payment plan with Defendant. (Id. at ¶ 19). Plaintiff alleges that during the week of September 11, 2017, Defendant repeatedly telephoned the office where he is employed and "left untoward and threatening messages" in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"). (Id. at ¶ 20).

         For relief Plaintiff asks the Court to: (1) enjoin Defendant from calling his great-aunt; (2) order Defendant to provide Plaintiff a complete accounting; (3) enjoin Defendant from falsely reporting to the various credit bureaus that Plaintiff is delinquent; (4) adjudicate as satisfied all loans between Plaintiff and Defendant; (5) enter declaratory judgment that Defendant has consistently violated the FDCPA; and (6) enjoin Defendant from future violations. (Id. at ¶¶ 21-25). In addition, he seeks any and all other damages. (Id. at ¶ 26).

         Navient moves for dismissal with prejudice pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). (D.I. 4). Plaintiff opposes and, in the alternative, contends that "in the interest of justice and fundamental fairness," he should be afforded leave to amend or an opportunity to retain counsel.[2] (D.I. 7atp.3).

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         In reviewing a motion filed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the court must accept all factual allegations in a complaint as true and take them in the light most favorable to plaintiff. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Because Plaintiff proceeds pro se, his pleading is liberally construed and his complaint, "however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94. A Rule 12(b)(6) motion maybe granted only if, accepting the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and viewing them in the light most favorable to the complainant, a court concludes that those allegations "could not raise a claim of entitlement to relief." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 558 (2007).

         "Though 'detailed factual allegations' are not required, a complaint must do more than simply provide 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.'" Davis v. Abington Mem'l Hosp.,765 F.3d 236, 241 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). I am "not required to credit bald assertions or legal conclusions improperly alleged in the complaint." In re Rockefeller Ctr. Props., Inc. Sec. Litig., 311 F.3d 198, 216 (3d Cir. 2002). A complaint may not be dismissed, however, "for ...


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