HICA Education Loan Corporation v. Paczkowski

Filing 37

ORDER that the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 25 .) The Clerk of Court is directed to enter judgment accordingly. Signed by Judge G Murray Snow on 6/6/2016. (KMG)

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1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 HICA Education Loan Corporation, Plaintiff, 10 11 ORDER v. 12 No. CV-14-01513-PHX-GMS Sylvia Paczkowski, 13 Defendant. 14 Pending before the Court is Plaintiff HICA Education Loan Corporation’s motion 15 for summary judgment. (Doc. 25.) For the following reasons, the Court grants the 16 motion. 17 18 BACKGROUND Between August 1988 and May 1991, Defendant Sylvia Paczkowski signed four 19 promissory notes (“loans”) with Plaintiff’s predecessor totaling over $30,000. Plaintiff’s 20 Statement of Facts1 (“PSOF”) ¶¶ 1–4, Exs. A, C–E; Defendant’s Response (Doc. 30) at 1. 21 In November 2003, the loans were assigned to Plaintiff. PSOF ¶ 5. On or about April 22 2013, Defendant ceased making payments on her loans. Id. ¶ 6. Over the next year, 23 Plaintiff sent Defendant numerous demands for payment, which Defendant did not 24 answer. Id. ¶ 7, Exs. G, H, I. 25 26 Sometime before March 2014, Defendant applied to the Department of Education (“DOE”) for a complete discharge of her outstanding loan amount due to her alleged 27 28 1 Defendant did not submit her own statement of facts nor any declarations or affidavits in support of her response to Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. 1 permanent and total disability. Id. ¶ 10. The DOE sent Defendant’s application to the 2 Federal Occupational Health Service (“FOH”) for review, which, on March 11, 2014, 3 found Defendant not disabled and denied her application. Id., Ex. K. In April 2014, 4 Defendant submitted additional medical records and requested a second review by the 5 FOH; the FOH denied her application. Id. ¶ 11, Ex. L. In June 2015, the FOH reviewed 6 and denied Defendant’s application for a third time. Id. ¶ 12, Ex. M. Finally, in August 7 2015, after Defendant failed to sign and return five medical release forms, Plaintiff 8 informed her that her application for cancellation of her loans due to permanent and total 9 disability were denied. Id. ¶¶ 13–15, Exs. N–P. DISCUSSION 10 11 I. Legal Standard 12 Summary judgment is appropriate if the evidence, viewed in the light most 13 favorable to the nonmoving party, demonstrates “that there is no genuine dispute as to 14 any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. 15 P. 56(a). Substantive law determines which facts are material and “[o]nly disputes over 16 facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly 17 preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 18 242, 248 (1986). “A fact issue is genuine ‘if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury 19 could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.’” Villiarimo v. Aloha Island Air, Inc., 20 281 F.3d 1054, 1061 (9th Cir. 2002) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). Thus, the 21 nonmoving party must show that the genuine factual issues “‘can be resolved only by a 22 finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party.’” Cal. 23 Architectural Bldg. Prods., Inc. v. Franciscan Ceramics, Inc., 818 F.2d 1466, 1468 (9th 24 Cir. 1987) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250). 25 Although “[t]he evidence of [the non-moving party] is to be believed, and all 26 justifiable inferences are to be drawn in [its] favor,” the non-moving party “must do more 27 than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” 28 Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The -2- 1 nonmoving party cannot avoid summary judgment by relying solely on conclusory 2 allegations unsupported by facts. See Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). 3 “A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the 4 assertion by: (A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record . . . or other materials; 5 or (B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a 6 genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support 7 the fact.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). “A trial court can only consider admissible evidence in 8 ruling on a motion for summary judgment,” and evidence must be authenticated before it 9 can be considered. Orr v. Bank of Am., 285 F.3d 764, 773–74 (9th Cir. 2002). 10 11 II. Analysis Plaintiff seeks summary judgment on its breach of contract claim. A breach of 12 contract occurs when there is: (1) a valid contract; (2) a breach of the terms of that 13 contract; and (3) damages. See Snyder v. HSBC Bank, USA, N.A., 873 F. Supp. 2d 1139, 14 1149 (D. Ariz. 2012). 15 Defendant does not contest the validity of the contracts, i.e., promissory notes, 16 underlying the four loans at issue in this case. Defendant also does not contest that her 17 termination of loan payments constitutes breach of those contracts. Nevertheless, 18 Defendant argues that she is permanently and totally disabled, and as such she is “entitled 19 to an exemption from payment of these obligations.” (Doc. 15 at 2.) Defendant 20 essentially argues that her breach is excused. The Defendant, however, acting within the 21 HEAL statutory framework which governs her loan obligations, already applied to the 22 DOE for cancellation of her outstanding loan amounts on account of her alleged 23 permanent disability; the FOH denied those applications. As such, her continuing failure 24 to satisfy her outstanding loan payments damages Plaintiff. 25 In her response to Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, Defendant only 26 presented conclusory statements regarding her alleged permanent and total disability. 27 Defendant described her symptoms and listed the alleged findings of multiple doctors 28 who treated or examined her over the years; yet, she attached no declarations, affidavits, -3- 1 or other admissible evidence supporting her symptoms or those doctors’ findings. See 2 Taylor, 880 F.2d at 1045; Orr, 285 F.3d at 773–74. Here, the only admissible evidence 3 are the FOH letters Plaintiff attached that repeatedly denied Defendant’s previous claims 4 to the DOE of permanent and total disability. Accordingly, on this undisputed record, the 5 Defendant presents no viable excuse for her breach of contract; thus, the facts support 6 Plaintiff’s motion. CONCLUSION 7 8 IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s motion for 9 summary judgment.2 (Doc. 25.) The Clerk of Court is directed to enter judgment 10 11 accordingly. Dated this 6th day of June, 2016. 12 13 Honorable G. Murray Snow United States District Judge 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 2 28 Pursuant to A.R.S. § 12-341.01, Plaintiffs are entitled to the award of reasonable costs and attorney fees. The Court shall grant such an award upon Plaintiff’s compliance with LRCiv. 54.2. -4-

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