Johnson v. Duncan et al

Filing 49

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 2/1/2017. (aos, Deputy Clerk)

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~ IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT couln FOR HIE DISTRICT OF MAIH'LAND Soutltem Dh'i.~io" ,.. - ~ ,(\ .JOSEPH .JOHNSON, .JR. C: J9 * Plaintiff, * v. Cllse No.: G.JII-15-18211 * ARNE DUNCAN, ef tIl., * Defendants. * * * * * * * * MEMORANDUM * * * * * * OPINION Plainti 1'1' Joseph Johnson . .II'. brings this action against Arnc Duncan. Seerctary of the Unitcd States Dcpartmcnt (collectively. cnrichmcnt. of Education. and thc Dcpartmcnt of Education (".thc Dcpartmcnt") "Dcfendants") for brcach of conditional Improvcmcnt Act of 1996. and the Ilighcr Education Act of 1965. Prcscntly pcnding ncliJre thc Court is Plaintitrs Motion for Partial Summary Judgmcnt. Motion liJr Judgmcnt on thc Pleadings. Loc. R. 105.6. For thc liJllowing reasons. l'iaintifTs dcnied. and Defcndants' part. promissory estoppel. unjust and violations of thc Consumcr Credit Reporting Rclimn Act of 1996 (OOCCRRA 00). thc Dcbt Collcction Defendants' scttlement. ECF No. 27. and ECF No. 3R. No hearing is ncccssary. See Motion lor Partial Summary Judgment is Motion liJr Judgment on the Pleadings is granted. in part. and denicd. in I. BACKGROUND This case marks Joseph Johnson. Jr.'s c1eventh action I in a long-standing effort to avoid paying back student loans he took out Irom 1993 to 1996. SI!I! lOCI' No. I 0 ~ 9: '/ohl1.l'IJ/l \'. U.S. IJl!p'l ojEduc .. 5XO F. Supp. 2d 154. 155 (O.D.C. Cir. Apr. 10.2009) loans Mr. Johnson C'UMUC") consolidated Throughout (""'/olm.l'oll [')2 These litigations op .. No. OX-5468 (D.C. stem li'om Icderally-guaranteed took out to attend classes at the University of Maryland University student College li'om 1993 to 1996. ,/OhIlSOIl I. 580 F. Supp. 2d at 155. In April 2004. Johnson his student loans into a single federal Direct Loan ("the Loan"). ECF No. I ~ 6. 2011. disputes - entities. including and several lawsuits - the Depal1ment and Xerox Education Solutions Solutions). the amount. regarding of Education. (a.k.a. Aftiliated 2-3: ECF No. 27-1 at 4-9: '/olm.mll purportedly 2008). aj!"d wilholl/ arose between Plaintiff and various the Direct Loan Servicing Computer Services. paymelll. and administration Center. Sallie Mae. Inc. or ACS Education of his Loan. SI!I! ECF No. 10 at III!. 105 Fed. CI. At 89-90.3 By January 2012. the balance owed on the Loan was $35.556.58. ECF NO.1 0 ~ 10. I Johllsoll \'. u.s. Del''' ojEelllc .. 580 F. Supp. 2d 154. 155 (D. D.C. 2008). a[felll'ilholll 01'.. No. 08-5468 (D.C. Cir. Apr. 10.2009) ("".I0/1I1.\,(1I1r); .I0h11S011 \'. Duncan. 746 F. Supp. 2<.1 163 (D.D.C. lOIO) ("./ohnson!r); .I0/1I1S011\', ..I[liIialeei COII/Pllli'!'Sen's .. IlIc.. No. 31 0-CV-2333-B. 20 II WL 40 I 1429 (N.D. Tex. Sept. 9. 201 I). a[l'eI. 500 F. App'.\: 265 (5th Cif. 2012) (".Io/m.wm II{'): Johnson \', Xerox Educ. ,\'ols LLC £I.ka . ..ICS. No. 050200145112012 (D. Ct. Prince George's ely.). No. CAL 12-26946 (Cif. C1. Prince George's ely. 2(12) r"Johnson /I ~'): .!o!lIlS0I11', .\~allie ,\taL'. Inc. (Cif. Cl. Prince George's elY. 2011) C'./o/mwl1 '-'); ./ohnson\', Sallie .,lIae, In('.. No. 050200-l432&201 0 (Cir. Ct. Prince Georgc's Cty, 2011) ("./O/I1I.WII f'T):./o/msOI1\', UnifedSfafes. 105 Fed, CI. &5 (Ct. Fcd, CI. 2012) ("'JohIlSOIl "1["): .Iolmsoll \'. Xerox Edllc. Sols. LLC. No. 050200025722014 (D. Cl. Prince George's Cty. 2014). No. C i\ L 14-05640 (Cir. Ct. Prince George -s Oy. 2014). GJ 11-14-1542 (D. Md. 2014) ("".Iolmsoll I'll n: .IohllSoll ". P/'emie/' Crdi! o(N. Am. LLC. No. 050200077212014 (D. Ct. Prince George's Cly. 2014) No. Ci\1.14-17920 (Cir. CI. Princc George' s Cty, 2014) r'./o/msnJ1 IX' or the "Xerox casc"); ./0/1I1.WI11l', E'periaJ1 "~/h.5inls,. P\VG-15-55&. 2015 WL 7769502 (D, Md, Nov, 17. 2015) r'./o/msoJ1.\~'), Othcr judicial opinions notc that additional actions exist. such as ./O/m.WIl \'. Ct!f1fral ("o/leclioll Unif, Dep 'f (~l BlU~'.!,t!f and ,.\I~mf .. DBA M-CCU-O 1-06--47614 (Md, Office of Admin. 1Ir"gs. Apr. 9. 2007). ",jet! Jo/m.wl1 I'll. 105 Fed. CI. at 90, ! To minimize confusion. the COLIrtwillutilizc thc same al';brcvIated names that Judge Grilllll1used in.Jo/1I1.wn \'. Expaiall/ll/i,. Sols.. PWG-15-558. 2015 WI. 7769502 (D. Md. Nov. 17.2015) ("'.Iohllsoll.I"). ~ Pin citcs t~)doculllcnts filed on the COLlrt"S electronic filing system (CM/ECF) refcr to thc page numbers generated by that system. 2 In an effort to "sellle" the debt. Plainti ITsent the Department $12.390.00 and a "detailed Selliement"). selliement of any claims. demands PlaintilT on the disputed debt:' contained the payee aeknowledges in the accompanying outstanding loan balance. See id See id'i 23. bureaus that PlaintilTwas $49.483.58 dated February cashed the check li,)r $12.390.00 'i'ii that beeause Defendants paid and satisfied. cheek stated ..[b Jy negotiating this and agrees to be bound by the terms and eonditions correspondence subsequently "Defendants 14. 2012 (..the Purported and monies owed or alleged to be owed by and that the selliement Department assertion Ieller" on February a check f(lr ECF No. 10'i 12. Plaintiff claims that he tendered the check "as a linal payment in lilii. accord and satisitlction instrument. transmillal of Education 17.22. Plaintiffs 14.2012:' Id.'i 13. The and applied it to PlaintifTs pending claims now stem li'OI11his eashed the check. they agreed to declare Plaintilrs Plaintiff claims that Defendants delinquent on the disputed debt:' doubled the balance on the disputed and then sent it to third-party actions have caused him "consequential. Id entire debt "falsely reported to credit 'i 24. PlaintilTalso debt by increasing alleges that it from $23.251.51 to about Id ~ 25. PlaintitT states that these collection agencies:' economic. and pecuniary damages:' ECF No. 10 at 8- 14. In his Amended (Count I). promissory III). "accounting" Complaint. PlaintilT asserts claims of breach of conditional estoppel and detrimental selliement reliance (Count II). unjust enrichment (Count IV). violation of the CCRRA (Count V). and statutory (Count violations of "Title 31 U.S.c. ~ 3711. 4 C.F.R. Part 103.31 C.F.R. Part 902. 903"" of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 and "sections 432(a) and 468" of the Higher Education a Motion IiII' Partial Summary (Count VI). ECF No. 10 at 7-14.PlaintiITsubmilled March 31. 2016 on his breach of contract e1aims (Count I) and violations , .' Act of 1965 Judgment of the Fair Credit on Reporting Act (Count V): ECF No. 27. On June 23. 2016. Defendants Judgment on the Pleadings. ECF No. 38. PlaintifTsubmitted filed a Motion f()r his Response and Opposition on August 8. 2016. ECF No. 44. Defendant submitted a Reply on August 23. 2016. ECT No. 46. II. STANDARD OF REVIEW A. l\1otion for .Judgment on the Pleadings A motion j())"judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) is governed by the same standard of revie\V as a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)( 6). Therefore. on the pleadings should be granted "it: alter accepting all \Vcll-pleaded allegations plaintiff-s complaint plaintiffs a motion 1())"udgment j as true and dra\Ving all reasonable Illctual inlerences in the from those Illcts in the favor. it appears certain that the plaintiff cannot prove any set of laets in support of his claim entitling him to rclief." Drager t.. PUlA USA. 11K.. 741 F.3d 470. 474 (4th Cir. 2014) (quoting E(iJrards r. Cil)' oj'Go!c!.l'lwro. 178 F.3d 231. 244 (4th Cir. 1999). A motion under Rule 12(c) tests the adequacy of the complaint and "docs not rcsolve the mcrits of the plaintiffs claims or any disputes of fact:' !d. (citations omitted). To overcome such a motion. a complaint must allege enough tacts to state a plausible claim lor reliet: Asllcro/i r. !clhal. 556 U.S. 662. 678 (2009). A claim is plausible dra\V the reasonable inference that the defendant In evaluating the Complaint \Vhen ..the plaintiff plcads tactual content that allows the Court to is liable tt))"the misconduct thc suf'liciency ofPlaintiirs claims. the Court accepts tltctual allegations as truc and construes the factual allegations Plaintiff. See Lall/helll 1'. 3d o(Coll/lI/'rs . alleged." !d. o/Dal'idsol7 . in in the light most fllvorable to the . 407 FJd 266. 268 (4th Cir. 2005) 01' .. ~ \Vhile PlaintifToriginally pleaded his claims ill Count V pursuant to the "Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of t996:' ECF No. to ot 11. he hos clorilied in 10lcr brielings thot Count V is osscrted under the Foir Credit Reporting Act. 15 U.S.C. ~ 1681 "I ''"If .. which the CCRRA omcnded. ECI' No. 27-1 ot 25: "ee "I"" Ii"H ". F.DIC.. 625 F.3d SOs. 813 (4th Cir. 2010). 4 (citing ZiI1Cr/1UJI1\', lJurch. 494 U,S. 113. 118 (1990): Schclicr v, Rhodcs. 416 U.S. 232 (1974 )). However. a court need not accept a plaintiffs legal conclusions as true. as ..[tJhreadbarc recitals of the elements of a cause of action. supported by mere conclusory statcments. do not surtice" Ashcrofi v. Ilfhal. 556 U.S, 662. 678 (2009). The Complaint must contain more than "legal conclusions. elements of a cause of action. and bare assertions devoid of further I~lctual enhancement." NCIIICI ChC\'/'O/CI, LId 1', COI1.\'/IIl1cl'lIlfilirs, COlli, I11C .. 591 F.3d 250. 255 (4th Cir. 2009). B. Summary .Jud~ment A party may also move Ii.)rsummary judgment under Fed, R. Civ, 1'. 56(a). identifying each claim or delense on which summary judgment is sought. Fed. R, Civ. P. 56(a). A coul1 "shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law," Fed. R. Civ. 1'. 56(c), A material 1:1Cts one that "might allect the outcome of the suit under the governing law," i /lm/er,1011 \', Ubcrly Loh!J)'. I11C .. 477 U.S. 242. 248 (1986), A genuine issue over a material fact exists "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict Ii.)rthe nonmoving party," ld In undertaking this inquiry. the Court must consider the facts and all reasonable inferences in the light most I:lVorable to the nonmoving party. SCOII \', !larris. 550 U.S. 372. 378 (2007), However. this Court must also abide by its artirmative obligation to prevent factually unsupported claims and de lenses Irom going to trial. Drc\I'ill Cir. 1993), 5 v. 1'I'lIII, 999 F,2d 774. 778-79 (4th III. ANALYSIS A. Collateral Estoppel The Court adheres to ,.thc related doctrines of rcs judicata and collateral estoppel." AI/en \'. MeCl/ny. 449 U.S. 90. 94 (1980). Under res judicata. "a Iinaljudgmcnt on the mcrits of an action precludcs the partics or their privics from relitigating issucs that were or could havc bcen raised in that action:' Id. (citing Cl'Ol1IlI'e// I'. COl/11Iy o(Sae. 94 U.S. 351. 352 (I 876)). With respect to eollatcral cstoppel. "once a court has decided an issue of lact or law nccessary to its judgment. that decision may prccludc rclitigation of the issuc in a suit on a different cause of action involving a party to the first easc:'Id. (citing Mon/ana \'. UniledS/a/es. 440 U.S. 147. 153 (1979»). As this Court and other courts have recognizcd. "res judicata and collateral estoppel relieve parties of the cost and vexation of multiple lawsuits. conscrve judicial resources, and. by prevcnting inconsistent decisions. encourage reliancc on adjudication:' Id. The party asserting collateral estoppel bears thc burdcn of"cstablishling] its predicates, and this of coursc includcs presenting an adequate record for the purpose:' A//en \'. Zl/I'ieh In.l'. Co.. 667 F.2d 1162. 1166 (4th Cir. 1982), When considering"a of res judicata I or collatcral motion to dismiss on the ground estoppel]. a court may take judicial not icc of j~\cts Ii'om a prior judicial proeceding when the res judicata defense raiscs no disputed issue of fact:' Andl'ell's Doll'. \'. 201 F.3d 521. 524 n.1 (4th Cir. 2(00): IJl'Ooks \'. AI'I/1II1'. 626 F.3d 194. 199 n.6 (4th Cir. 2(10). Fcderal courts must an<ml "preclusive effect to statc-court judgments whencver the courts of the State from which the judgments emerged would do so:' AI/en. 449 U,S, at 96 (1980). Finally. a party seeking to rely on the doetrinc of collateral estoppel must establish live elements: (1) the issue sought to be prccluded is identical to one previously litigatcd: (2) the issue must have becn actually detcrmined in the 6 prior procccding: (3) determination of the issuc must havc bccn a critical and ncccssary part of the decision in the prior procecding: (4) the prior judgmcnt must be linal and valid: and (5) the party against whom cstoppcl is asscrted must have had a full and fair opportunity to litigate thc issuc in the previous forum. Sedlack ". Bran!'e/! Sen's. G'i) .. IlIc.. 134 F.3d 219. 224 (4th Cir. 1998). Hcrc. Dcfcndants allege that the decisions in./ohllsolllX (a.k.a. the "Xerox ease") and Johllsoll X precludc Johnson l1'<nll elitigating whether the Purportcd Settlemcnt satislied his r studcntloan obligations. ECF No. 38-1 at 'II. In./ohllsolllX. Plaintiff brought elaims in the District Court for Prince Gcorge's County against Xcrox Education Solutions. 1.1.e. and relatcd entities for (i) delamation. (ii) libel. (iii) violation of the Maryland Fair Credit Reporting Act. (iv) brcach of statutory duty. (v) unjust cnriehmcnt. (vi) tortious interfercncc with contract. (vi i) breach of agrcemcnt. (viii) intentional infl iction of emotional distress. and (xii) Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act. ECF No. 44-3 at 11-45: ./ohllsoll \'. Premier Credit o(N. Am. HC. No. 050200077212014 (D. Ct. Prince George's Cty. 2014): see also ./ohnsoll X. 2015 WI. 7769502. at *4. Johnson also asserted elaims against Premicre Crcdit of North Amcrica 1".11' (ix) del~lI11ation/libel/slander. (x) libel. (xi) violation of the Maryland Fair Credit Reporting Act. (xiii) failure to usc duc diligence. and (xiv) intentional infliction of cmotional distress. Id. Thc case was rcmoved to the Circuit Court for Princc Gcorgc's County . ./ohllsoll \'. Premiere Credir o(N. Am .. LLC. No. CAL14-17920. "Premiere Creditmovcd for summary judgment. and on Novcmbcr 26. 2014. a stipulation of dismissal with prejudicc was entered with respect to Prcmierc Credit." .101111.1011 2015 WI. 7769502. at *4: see also ./ohllsolllX. X. No. CAI.14-17920. Thc rcmaining Xerox delendants moved for summary judgmcnt. and Johnson opposcd. also moving lor partial summary judgment on his contract claim. Id.: see also ECF No. 44-4. On April 13. 2015.the Circuit Court for Princc George's County. without a written opinion. grant cd 7 the defendants' motion It)r summary judgment denied Johnson's as to all ofJohnson's motion lor partial summary judgment. ECF No, 44_65 In .Jolmson X. Judge Grimm of the District of Maryland Circuit Court's decision of the Purported in .Johnson Settlement IX collaterally on his outstanding claims. ECF No. 44-5. and analyzed estopped Johnson in detail whether the from rclitigating debt. .Jolmsonl', t\perionlnfi!, Sols .. I'WG-15- 558.2015 WI. 7769502 (D, Md, Nov. 17. 2015). The answer was a resounding Speei fieally . .JohllSon )( held that ..the issue of whether Johnson they relate to Johnson's Solution:' cannot relitigate .Johnson X. 2015 WI. 7769502. at *6. The Court lill1her held. "Johnson rcjceted in .Johnson IX:' Id. at *7. The Court dismissed written opinion obviated .Johnson settlement purported Johnson's letter. which havc bccn argument that the lack ofa IX did not issue a written opinion explaining its order. it is clear that the circuit agreement that discharged his student Id. Finally. the Court ItHmd that deciding the bona fides of Johnson's agreement "was critical and necessary" the circuit court is final and valid:' the issue:' settlement IX's preclusive effect. noting that ..[elven though the circuit court rejected Johnson' s claim that he had a settlement loan obligations:' settled his student loanll debts as settlcd his student loan debts as they rclate to Xerox in this Court the bona lides of his purported court in .Johnson "yes:' current claims against Experian is identical to the issue previously decided in .Jolm,wiIl IX of whcther Johnson Education the effect and that Johnson Id. Thus. Johnson was collaterally settlement in the prior proceeding. that ..the judgment had a "Iilll and lilir opportunity estopped letter of February 2012 discharged of to litigate Irom again litigating whether the him Irom paying his student loan 'In an Opinion dated September 13.2016. the Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed the Circuit Court's decision in.lo/m.wl1/X. ECF No. 47-1. In its Opinion. the Maryland Court afSpecial Appeals declined to resolve Johnson's case on principles of res judicata. but rcached the merits orthe claims. holding that the doctrine of accord and satisf:1ction did not apply. Specifically. the Court of Special Appeals found that because "there was no good faith dispute for Johnson to compromise. [Defendant! ACS received no consideration for acccpting less than the full amount of the debt. ACS, thereforc, was entitled to keep Johnson's $12,390 and apply it as partial payment towards Johnson's debt:' ECI' No. 47-1 at 5--{j. 8 obligations." Thc Fourth Circuit artinned Judge Grimm's dccision in a per curiam opinion dated NO\'embcr 21. 2016. ECF No. 48-1. Plaintiff disagrccs thc Purported judgment. that collatcral Settlemcnt cstoppel bars him from furthcr litigating thc validity of bccausc "a) Xcrox raiscd multiple bases for its cntitlemcnt and thc Princc Gcorgc' s County Court's Order (issued without a Mcmorandum Opinion) does not state or imply \\hat was thc basis underlying Summary Judgmcnt that Court's ECF No. 44-1 at 3. Dcspite Judge Grimm's Johnson )(. PlaintilT argues that "collatcral of the Circuit Court in thc Xerox casc:' cstoppcl. unjust enrichment. would not bar litigation rcgarding diffcrcnt cntity. thc Dcpartmcnt Co. 1'. dircctly with the U.S. Dcpartmcnt and accounting. Id at 19-20. The C01ll1 disagrees. Plaintiff appcars to blcnd conccpts of claim preclusion by arguing that the judgment thc mutuality no cffcct upon thc qucstion 1£1. at 16. Finally. Plaintiff contcnds that prcclusion does not bar his claims of As an initialmattcr. prcclusion opinion in Id at 13. Plaintiff furthcr argucs that raiscd in this casc whether Johnson cntercd into a scttlemcnt promissory Irom cstoppel cannot apply to the broad and unrcasoned thc holding in Johl1.\D/7 or thc Xerox casc "would havc absolutely IX of Education:' granting of the Motion: and b) thc ccntral issuc in the instant case is cntircly diffcrcnt the central issue in the Xerox casc:' order of judgment to summary that the Purportcd thc validity ofthc of Education. Scttlcmcnt samc Purportcd As Suprcmc of partics is no longer a requirement Shore. 439 U.S. 322. 328-29 (1979): see a/so Shader was invalid against Xcrox Scttlement Court precedcnt lor collatcral 1'. and issuc against a has long made clear. estoppcl. See l'ark/a/7e Hasiel)' l!amp/o/7 Imp. Ass '/7. Inc.. 443 Judge Grimm also held that to establish a claim under the Maryland Consumer Credit Reporting Act. Md. Code Com. Law ~ 14-120 I ,'I seq .. and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. 15 U.S.c. ~ 16KI el seq .. PlaintifT had to show that .. the consumer report prepared by the credit reporting agency contains inaccurate information,'" .101111.\'011 X. 2015 WL 7769502. at *8. Because Johnson was collaterally estopped from arguing that his student loans were settled. Defendant Expcrian's reporting of his loans as "delinquent and in collections" \vas not inaccurate. Thus, the Court dismissed Johnson's credit reporting claims. Iti. I> 9 Md. 148. 162 (2015) (noting that "ltJhe traditional principle of mutuality of parties as an element of collateral estoppel has not always been required 'if one of the parties in the original case is involved in relitigating one of the issues determined against a ditTerent party in a succcssive suit. "'). Indeed. a primary purpose of the doctrine is that the "r djefensive use of collateral estoppel preeludes a plaintiff trom relitigating identical issues by merely 'switching adversaries .... ['ark/al1e Ilosie/)' Alllerica Co .. Nal. Tl'lIsl & S(/\'il1g\ AsslI .. 439 U.S. at 329 (1979) (citing !Jemhard I'. Balik of' 19 Cal.2d. at 813 (1942)). lIence. issue preelusion still applies. even though the Department of Education was not a party in ./O/lIIS011 1)( or ./ohllsoll X. As to the lack of a written opinion in ./ohnl'Ol1 IX. ..[ e Iven in the absence of all)' opinion. a judgment bars relitigation of an issue necessary to the judgment ... so it is plain the adjudicator's silence on the issue is relevant only insofar as it may tend to obscure whether the issue was truly litigated." Alii. 11'1111 Slee/ln,'I, & V. U.S. E,[',A .. 886 F.2d 390. 397 (D.C. Cir. 1989). Notwithstanding the fact that the Circuit Court issued no written opinion in ./ohll.loll IX. the Court in ./O/IIIS011X did issue its own in-depth analysis. coneluding: In order to grant Xerox's motion lor summary judgment. the circuit court had to lind either (I) Xerox did not have a settlement agreement with Johnson or (2) Xerox did not take actions in breach of that agrcement. Because only the tirst element was contested. the circuit court necessarily accepted Xerox's argument that the letter was /101 a bona tide settlement of the student loan accounts that could serve as a basis lor Johnson's breach of contract e1aim. ./ohllsoll I'. 1:\'l'erialllll/il. So/s .. IlIc .. No. PWG-15-558. 2015 WI. 7769502. at *7 (D. Md. Nov. 17.2015). a/!"d. No. 16-1691. 2016 WL 6833354 (4th Cir. Nov. 21. 2016). Thus. considering .10/111.\'011/.1 and ./ohnl'OlI X together. the validity of the Purported Settlement has undoubtedly been "actually determined" I(lr estoppel purposes. Sedlack. 134 FJd at 224. The question then becomes whether the tinding on this issue estops all of Plaintilfs elaims in the present action. In Count I. PlaintitTalieges breach of conditional settlement relating 10 to his "February 24.2012 ... conditional settlemenlto compromise and settle Plaintitrs disputed debt'" ECF No. 10 at8. In Count II. Plainti ITalleges promissory estoppel based upon Defendants' "clear and definite promises to PlaintilTto compromise. residue of the disputed debt ... by knowingly settle. and relinquish the accepting. cashing. and retaining Plainlitrs $12.390.00 conditional settlement check'" Id. at 9. In Count III. PlaintilTalleges enrichment because "Plaintiff conferred a benefit upon the Defendants by. inter alia. paying the Defendants $12.390.00 to fully settle his disputed debt'" Id. at 10. In Count IV. Plaintiff requests that the Court "pass an order requiring an accounting credits. and adjustments unjust due to Plaintiffas Count VI. Plaintiff claims that Defendants showing the amount of all payments. a result of the conditional settlement." 111. at 11. In "have continued to claim that the Plaintiff owe money on the disputed debt which was settled by the conditional settlement: and have continued to collect the disputed debt in amount not owed by Plaintiff" in violation of the Debt Collection Improvement Act and the Iligher Education Act of 1965. Id. at 13. Thus. Counts 1. 11. 111.IV. and VI clearly rely on the validity of the Purported Settlemcnt. and are barrcd by the doctrine of collateral estoppel. These claims are dismissed with prejudice. Accordingly. Plaintiffs Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Count I is also denied fl)l' these reasons. B. FCRA Claims Count V. violation of the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act or Fair Credit Rcporting Act. presents a closer question because it does not expressly mention the Purported Settlemcnt. PlaintilTalleges that "Defendants have continuously reported and filrnished or causcd to be reported and furnished inaccurate and false inllJrmation relating to Plaintitrs disputed debt to third parties'" ECF No. f0 at 11. While Plainti ITdoes not specify in his Amended Complaint the provision of the "Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Ace under which he brings his elaims. 11 Plaintiff states in his Motion Illr Partial Summary asserted under the Fair Credit Reporting under ~ 1681 s-2(b). Act. 15 U.S.c. Plaintiff must establish: CRAs of the disputed information. (3) that [DefendantsJ "( then failed to investigate DlI\'elll'Orl I'. Judgment J ) that the claims in Count V are ~ 168Is-2(b). To bring a cause of action that he notified the [credit reporting (2) that the CRAs notified [DelcndantsJ and modify the inaccurate Sallie Mae. 111(' No. CIV. PJM 12-1475.2013 .. 1 agencies of the dispute. and inllJrlllation:' WL 4010983. at *3 (D. Md. Aug. 2. 2(13). Johnson declares that "1 have never been dclinquent the Department disputed of Education this inaccurate Reporting Agencies and have always paid on time. For the last four years. I have infllrmation ["CRAs"]:' in writing with the Defendants lOCI' No. 27-2'156: states that "On multiple occasions. inaccurate inlonllation amount allegedly ECF NO.1 Delcndants the inaccurate O'i Agencies information complained appearing of concerns. owed on Plaintiffs 48: lOCI' No. 27-2'i disputed Experian. have notified the Defendants Trans of my It!. '1 57. "The that "[nJotwithstanding and modi I)' the inaccurate Agencies and del~llIlt:. m)' efforts. the information. and that the debt was in dispute:' ECF 0'152. PlaintilTcould issues raised in prior cases. But as Defendants the first Amended including debt and the Itlct of delinquency have failed to note with any of the Credit Reporting Taken out of context. Agencies in my credit reports:' 59. Johnson contends J Credit among other things. the payment history. the have failed and/or refused to investigate No. 27-2 ~ 60: see a/so lOCI' No. and the Consumer see also ECF No. 10 '150. Johnson further the Credit Reporting Union. Equilax. and Innovis Credit Reporting dispute regarding or del~llIlted on my student loan with arguably be relcrring correctly Complaint ... the only reasonable 12 to a separate matter than the note. in the context of the allegations inference that can be drawn is that the of . inaccurate information" that Johnson alleges the Department of Euucation is reporting or furnishing in violation of the Consumer Creuit Reporting Rcftmn Act results fi.OIn not acknowledging that the Purported Settlement resolveu his student loan obligations"') 38-1 at 14: SI'I' also Johnson X. 2015 WI. 7769502. at *8 (dismissing ECF No. credit reporting claims on collateral estoppel grounds). Thus. the COUl1's holding that collateral estoppel bars further litigation of the validity of the Purported Settlement Plaintiffs IV. warrants dismissal of Count V as well. Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Count V is also denied for these reasons. CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons. Plaintitrs ECF No. 27. Defendants' Motion filr Partial Summary Judgment is denied. Motion ttlr Judgment on the Pleadings is granted. ECF No. 38. A separate Order shall issue. Date: Februarv I &~- .2017 , George J. Ilazcl United States District Judge 7 \Vithout such an inference. Count V would be dismissed for failure to state a claim as it would be ullclear what the inaccurate information being reported could be. 13

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