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Hica Education Loan Corporation v. Avril L. Ulett

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY


September 10, 2012

HICA EDUCATION LOAN CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
AVRIL L. ULETT, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: William J. Martini, U.S.D.J.:

OPINION

Plaintiff HICA Education Loan Corporation ("HICA") brings this action against Defendant Avril L. Ulett, a/k/a Avril L. Ulett Atwell, seeking a judgment against Defendant for an unpaid student loan. This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. The motion is unopposed. There was no oral argument. Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b). For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.

I.BACKGROUND

The following facts are undisputed.*fn1 On or about March 3, 1995, Defendant signed a promissory note payable to the Student Loan Marketing Association ("SLMA"), in the original principal amount of $23,673.33 ("the Note"). Decl. of Robin Zimmermann ("Decl.") ¶¶ 4(a), (b), ECF No. 9-5. The Note was executed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 292 et seq. and federal regulations governing the administration of the Health Education Assistance Loan ("HEAL") Program. Decl. Ex. 1, ECF No. 9-6. On November 24, 2003, the SLMA sold the Note to HICA. Id.; Decl. ¶ 4(d). Defendant failed to make the payments due under the terms of the Note. Decl. ¶ 4(c). Plaintiff seeks a judgment for the unpaid principal in the amount of $38,458.10, in addition to $8,513.62 in unpaid interest and other damages.*fn2 Id. ¶¶ 4(e) and (f).

II.LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, the discovery [including, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file] and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Turner v. Schering-Plough Corp., 901 F.2d 335, 340 (3d Cir. 1990). A factual dispute is genuine if a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party, and is material if it will affect the outcome of the trial under governing substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The Court considers all evidence and inferences drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Andreoli v. Gates, 482 F.2d 641, 647 (3d Cir. 2007).

III.DISCUSSION

In an action to recover on a promissory note for student loans, a plaintiff must show that: "(1) the defendant signed it, (2) the [plaintiff] is the present owner or holder, and (3) the note is in default." United States v. Hargrove, No. 06-1059, 2007 WL2811832, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 24, 2007) (quoting United States v. Lawrence, 276 F.3d 193, 197 (5th Cir. 2001). In this case, Plaintiff has shown all three factors. First, Plaintiff provided a copy of the Note bearing Defendant's signature. Decl. Ex. RZ1, ECF No. 11-1 ("Note"). Second, Plaintiff provided a copy of the Bill of Sale and Blanket Endorsement that transferred the Note from SLMA to HICA, and an affidavit stating that HICA is the present holder and owner of the Note. Decl. Ex. RZ1 at 4-6, ECF No. 9-5; Decl. ¶ 4(d). Third, Plaintiff provided computerized loan records showing that the Note is in default. Decl. Ex. RZ2, ECF No. 9-7. Thus, Plaintiff has satisfied its burden and is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See United States v. Considine, No. 06-6118, 2008 WL 4723030 (D.N.J. Oct. 24, 2008) (lender entitled to summary judgment based on copies of the plaintiff's promissory notes and declaration stating that the lender was the holder of the defaulted loans); Hargrove, 2007 WL 2811832 at *2.

Because Plaintiff has prevailed on its claim, Plaintiff is entitled to a judgment in the amount of $46,971.72, comprised of the unpaid principal ($38,458.10) and the amount of unpaid interest set forth in Plaintiff's papers ($8,513.62). See Supp. Decl. ¶¶ 4(n) and (o). Plaintiff will be given fourteen (14) days from entry of the Order to file a motion for attorney's fees and costs pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d). The Court will include any additional prejudgment interest owed in its subsequent judgment.

IV.CONCLUSION

For the reasons stated above, Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED. Judgment is entered in the amount of $46,971.72. Plaintiff shall have fourteen (14) days from the date of this opinion to submit an application detailing the attorney's fees and costs requested. An appropriate order follows.

WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.


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