In re Pierre, Bankruptcy No. 80-01323-BKC-JAG

Decision Date11 June 1981
Docket NumberBankruptcy No. 80-01323-BKC-JAG,Adv. No. 81-0068-BKC-JAG-A
Citation12 BR 693
PartiesIn re Ernest PIERRE, Debtor. Ernest PIERRE, Plaintiff, v. NEW YORK STATE HIGHER EDUCATION SERVICES CORP., a New York corp., Defendant.
CourtU.S. Bankruptcy Court — Southern District of Florida

Bernard I. Rappaport, Miami, Fla., for debtor.

Kaplan, Rapoport & Hodin, P.A., Miami, Fla., Frederick J. Schreyer, Albany, N.Y., for defendant.


JOSEPH A. GASSEN, Bankruptcy Judge.

This case was tried on the complaint of the debtor, Ernest Pierre, against the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation, to determine the dischargeability of Pierre's student loan. It is conceded that Pierre is indebted to the defendant for a loan in the principal amount of $4,754, with interest at seven percent, made on or about November 1, 1978.

Under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(8), this debt is one excepted from discharge unless such exception will impose an undue hardship on the debtor and the debtor's dependents, as set forth in subsection (B). Whether or not there would be such undue hardship is the only issue in this case.

The testimony of Mr. Pierre regarding the reasons for his obtaining the loan and his present family circumstances and financial condition was unrebutted. Mr. Pierre is forty-one years old and was trained as a nurse in Trinidad. He is a registered nurse in New York state, but has not been licensed in Florida. He used the loan proceeds to attend the first year of medical school in Santo Domingo. He did not work while attending medical school because his studies made it difficult, and the very low wages available in Santo Domingo made it economically unfeasible. He passed all of his first year courses except anthropology, and was accepted for the second year. However, after an investigation of the school at that time the government concluded that the school did not meet the necessary requirements, and government-funded student loans were suspended. The debtor thus had no source of funds and discontinued his schooling.

Since January 19, 1980, Mr. Pierre has been employed at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Miami as a graduate nurse and currently earns $15,500 annually, (net $526 biweekly). His salary will be increased by $600 next year in this job. He estimates that the maximum he might make in another job is $18,000, although he cannot work elsewhere until he is licensed in Florida. He expects to take the nursing examination in July, 1981, and after being licensed he will additionally be able to undertake private duty nursing at $8-$10 an hour.

Mr. Pierre is the father of six children, ages eighteen to five, the oldest of whom is in the army. He was divorced from his wife, the mother of his two older children, in 1970. He has been living with his present companion, whom he considers his wife, for about fourteen years.

His former wife, who is employed in New York, was awarded child support, although their two children now live with him. The court does not find credible...

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