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United States v. Hamwright

August 12, 2008

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MARQUS HAMWRIGHT, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Irenas, Senior District Judge

OPINION

Before the Court is Plaintiff United States of America's (the "Government's") Motion for Summary Judgment. The Government seeks to collect from Defendant Marqus Hamwright the amount due on six defaulted federally insured student loans. Hamwright has not opposed the Motion. For the reasons set forth below, the Government's Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted.

I.

Hamwright received a total of $80,000 in student loans. He has never made any payments on the loans. Hamwright applied for and was granted six Health Education Assistance Loans ("HEALs") while attending the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.*fn1 (Cert. of Barry Blum, Chief of Referral Control Section in Debt Management Branch, Department of Health and Human Services, p. 1.) The Student Loan Marketing Association ("SLMA") purchased and received an assignment for five of Hamwright's loans. The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency ("PHEAA") purchased and received an assignment for the sixth loan.*fn2 Id. at 2. Hamwright signed a separate promissory note for each loan. (Bynon Decl., Ex. B.) The total principal amount for all six HEAL loans was $80,000.

Hamwright left the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and received several deferments from both SLMA and PHEAA between July 1, 1998 and June 30, 2002. (Blum Cert., p. 1.) SLMA notified Hamwright that payments for the five loans held by SLMA were to begin on May 1, 2003. Id. at 2. PHEAA notified Hamwright that payments for the loan held by PHEAA were to begin on May 3, 2003. Id. Hamwright failed to make any payments to either SLMA or PHEAA. Id.

Both SLMA and PHEAA sent Hamwright final demand letters in the spring of 2004, notifying him that they would file a default claim with HHS if his nonpayment continued. (Blum Cert., p. 2.) Hamwright still did not make any payments. Id. SLMA filed a claim with the Department and received $111,869.00 on May 20, 2004. Id. The five loans held by SLMA were assigned to the Department. Id. PHEAA filed a claim with the Department and received $13,762 on April 14, 2005. Id. The loan held by PHEAA was also assigned to the Department. Id. Thereafter, Hamwright failed to cooperate even after he was notified of the various adverse actions taken by the Government as a result of his delinquency.*fn3

On March 7, 2007, Hamwright filed for relief under Title 11 U.S.C. Chapter 7 in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the District of New Jersey (Case No. 07-13130-GMB). (Blum Cert., p. 3.) The HEAL debt was not dischargable in bankruptcy, but the payments were suspended during the proceedings.*fn4 Id. The bankruptcy was discharged on June 8, 2007.

Hamwright was notified by letter dated June 21, 2007, that the HEAL debt was not discharged and that he had thirty days to enter into a repayment agreement and make a good faith payment. Id. Hamwright failed to enter into a repayment agreement. Id. In a letter dated July 23, 2007, Hamwright was advised that he had thirty days to enter into a repayment agreement, or his debt would be referred to the DOJ. Id. Hamwright failed to respond. Id.

On October 15, 2007, the Government filed the instant Complaint alleging a breach of promissory note.*fn5 The Clerk of Court received a letter from Hamwright on November 16, 2007, which was docketed as Hamwright's Answer to the Complaint. (Hamwright Ans., Docket No. 4.) The letter stated:

After completing my residency in August 2002, my mother became extremely ill and I decide [sic] to move in and take care of her. She was hospitalized more than 7 times over a 4 year period. My mother died on June 19, 2006. During this time period, I was unemployed and did not receive any other forms of income.

I did receive calls from the lender/creditors over the years and I explained my hardship. The calls kept coming and it was someone new each time, so I found myself explaining my situation over and over again without any resolution. Some examples of quotes receive [sic] by collection agency would be paying 5000 dollars a month for nine month [sic] then renegotiate a reduced payment. I was unable to comply with this agreement. I also explained that I was filing for bankruptcy on March 7, 2007 and discarded [sic] on June 8, 2007. Also with the understanding that I would have to pay back my Federal Student Loans.

I just started my private practice in 2006 and the difficulties of developing a patient [sic] still continues to this date. I am not trying to run away from my responsibility and I requested for [sic] an acceptable repayment schedule. Since my bankruptcy, I have sought the advice of Credit Care in Cherry Hill, New Jersey to restore my credit. (Hamwright Ans.; Docket No. 4.) All correspondence sent to Hamwright has been returned as undeliverable since May of 2008.

The Government filed this Motion for Summary Judgment on July 2, 2008. Hamwright has not filed any response to ...


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