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Claims for Botched Servicing of Student Loans May Move Forward

Link: Fleischer v. ACCESSLEX INSTITUTE, Case No. 17-cv-08295 (N.D. Ill., Sept. 19, 2018).

Plaintiff filed suit against the servicer, owner, and collector of his consolidated student loans (Accesslex Institute D/B/A Access Group, Conduent Education Services, LLC F/K/A Acs Education Services, Massachusetts Higher Education Assistance Corporation D/B/A American Student Assistance, Delta Management Associates, Inc., and F.H. Cann & Associates, Inc.). Plaintiff is represented by Kruger & Gruber, LLP.

He alleged that after consolidating his loans in 2011, he entered into a forbearance with his then-servicer Access Group where he would pay only 2.5% interest for three years on his $38,000 balance. 23 months later, Delta Management (whom Plaintiff had never heard of) sent him a letter saying his balance was over $50,000. After years of disputes with the Consumer Financial Protection bureau and the Defendants, the account was sent to debt collectors who went after Plaintiff for the inflated amount.

Plaintiff filed action under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act against F.H. Cann, Delta, and Conduent; claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act against F.H. Cann and Delta; breach-of-contract and promissory-estoppel claims against Conduent; fraudulent and negligent-misrepresentation claims against Delta; and a fraudulent-concealment claim against Conduent. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss and for judgment on the pleadings.

Judge Manish S. Shah allowed his ICFA claim of unfairness to proceed against Conduent, and found that the ICFA claim against Conduent and Delta would normally be time-barred—but it falls within the “continuing violation” tolling doctrine, which delays accrual of the statute of limitations until (1) the date of the last injury or (2) when the tortious acts cease. Gredell v. Wyeth Laboratories, Inc., 346 Ill.App.3d 51, 59 (1st Dist. 2004).

The court allowed the FDCPA claims against F.H. Cann and Delta to survive, alleging that they failed to give him the required notice under 15 U.S.C. § 1692g and that its statements regarding removing his default status from his credit report was potentially false or misleading.

The court allowed the breach of contract claim to survive, but dismissed the negligent and intentional misrepresentation claims and fraudulent concealment claim.

Posted in FDCPA, ICFA, Student Loans

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