United States v. Milford, C/A No. 2:15-CV-2009-RMG-MGB

CourtUnited States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtMARY GORDON BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Docket NumberC/A No. 2:15-CV-2009-RMG-MGB
PartiesUnited States of America, PLAINTIFF, v. Eugene Milford, DEFENDANT.
Decision Date08 July 2016

United States of America, PLAINTIFF,
v.
Eugene Milford, DEFENDANT.

C/A No. 2:15-CV-2009-RMG-MGB

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA CHARLESTON DIVISION

July 8, 2016


REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

The United States of America brought this action against Eugene Milford, appearing pro se, to collect student loan debt. Defendant Milford counter-claimed alleging numerous claims against the United States of America. (Dkt. No. 21.) This matter is before the court on Plaintiff's Notice and Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 26) and the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. No. 29.) Pursuant to the provisions of Title 28, United States Code, Section 636(b)(1) and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e), D.S.C., all pretrial matters in cases involving pro se litigants are referred to a United States Magistrate Judge for consideration. For the reasons stated herein, the undersigned recommends the Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 26) be granted and the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. No. 29) be denied.

PLAINTIFF'S CLAIM

The Plaintiff's claim is a straight-forward collection action on a promissory note ("note") signed by the Defendant on April 20, 1999.1 (Dkt. No. 36-2.) Under the terms of the note, the Defendant was disbursed $34,266.58 between May 3, 1999, and May 4, 1999, and $28,141.60

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between May 4, 1999, and May 25, 1999 at a variable interest rate to be determined annually. (26-2 at 1.) Following demand of payment, the Defendant defaulted on the loan on March 25, 2005. (Id.) The Plaintiff has credited $7,113.61 in payments to the loan from all sources including treasury offsets. (Id.) The Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant owes a principal balance of $74,758.08 and interest in the amount of $30,604.93 as of March 20, 2015. (Id.) The total amount owed as of March 20, 2015, was $105,363.01. (Id.) The interest continued to accrue at a current rate of 2.33% and a daily rate of $4.77 through June 30, 2015, at which time the interest rate may change under 20 U.S.C. 1087e. (Id.)

DEFENDANT'S CLAIMS

The Defendant filed an amended counter-claim and answer on August 13, 2015. (Dkt. No. 21.) The Defendant alleges many detailed facts relating to a guilty plea he entered in Sumter County, South Carolina on February 5, 1990. (Id.) The Defendant alleges facts attacking his subsequent Post Conviction Relief ("PCR") proceedings that occurred in October of 1993. (Id.) The Defendant alleges he attended the Columbia University School of Social Work and the Bank Street College of Education in the mid-1990's and graduated with dual master's degrees in social work and education. (Id.) The Defendant alleges that on April 26, 1999, he received a letter from the Plaintiff stating, "Since we haven't heard from you, we assume you are no longer interested in a Direct Consolidation Student Loan, and we have cancelled your loan application." (Id.; see also 21-1 at 1.)

The Defendant alleges that in 2002 he was injured while on the job and was denied immediate compensation from a worker's compensation claim in New York. (Dkt. No. 21.) He later alleges that he received full compensation from this claim. He alleges that he went through Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Maryland on November 15, 2002, and that the note "should have been discharged." (Id. at 2.)

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The Defendant alleges that on August 15, 2011, the Defendant was notified by the Plaintiff that the Department of the Treasury would offset any money the Defendant was owed by government until the loan was paid. (Dkt. No. 21 at 3.) The Defendant hired an attorney to challenge the note. (Id.) The parties attempted to mediate the dispute but the Defendant could not comply with any of the settlement terms offered by the Plaintiff. (Id.)

The Defendant alleges he appeared before the "South Carolina Full Education Board for an Educator Certification in Special Education in Emotional Disabilities" on May 8, 2013. (Dkt. No. 21 at 3.) The Board approved a motion to deny his application (presumably for employment). (Id. at 3-4.)

The Defendant alleges several counter-claims against the United States of America. (Dkt. No. 21 at 4-6.) The Defendant seeks for the court to declare his note and guilty plea void due to "False Certification" by the United States. (Id. at 4.) The Defendant seeks for his guilty plea to be "voided as a Matter of Law supported by prima facial [sic] facts" from his criminal case. The Defendant seeks to have the note voided because he alleges the United States is "guilty" of "criminal coercion to duress." (Id. at 5.) The Defendant alleges an employment discrimination claim based on race, age, "false certification," and criminal background against the South Carolina Board of Education. (Id.) The Defendant alleges the Plaintiff committed fraud by not submitting a copy of the note.2 (Id.) The Defendant alleges that the United States has retaliated against him because of his posts on Facebook and Twitter regarding racial discrimination and criminal conduct by South Carolina Law Enforcement Officials. (Id.) The Defendant alleges that the United States has retaliated against him by notifying the South Carolina Board of Education of his criminal charge, which he alleges was improper. (Id. at 6.)

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STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment "shall" be granted "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a). "Facts are 'material' when they might affect the outcome of the case, and a 'genuine issue' exists when the evidence would allow a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party." The News & Observer Publ'g Co. v. Raleigh-Durham Airport Auth, 597 F.3d 570, 576 (4th Cir. 2010) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, "'the nonmoving party's evidence is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in that party's favor.'" Id. (quoting Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 552 (1999)); see also Perini Corp. v. Perini Constr., Inc., 915 F.2d 121, 123-24 (4th Cir. 1990). "[A]ll evidence must be construed in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 261 (1986). The court is not obliged, however, to deny summary judgment for the moving party when the evidence favoring the nonmoving party is "merely colorable or is not significantly probative." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50. "This court is required to construe pro se complaints and petitions liberally." Stout v. Robnett, 107 F. Supp. 2d 699, 702 (D.S.C. 2000) (internal quotations and citations omitted). "[P]ro se complaints...are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys,...and a federal district court is charged with liberally construing a complaint or petition filed by a pro se litigant to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case." Id.

ANALYSIS
Plaintiff's Notice and Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 26)

No genuine issue of fact exists as to the Plaintiff's claim against the Defendant. "To succeed in [an] action against a borrower on defaulted student loans, the government must show:

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(1) the borrower is the person issued [the] note; (2) the government owns [the] note; and (3) the note is unpaid." United States v. Muhilly, No. 6:07-CV-0290-HFF, 2008 WL 220256, at *4 (D.S.C. Jan. 25, 2008) (citing United States v. Durbin, 64 F.Supp.2d 635, 636 (S.D.Tex.1999)). The Defendant signed the promissory note (Dkt. No. 36-2 at 1) on April 20, 1999, and was issued the funds the following month. (Dkt. No. 1-1 at 1.)

While the Defendant argues that he received a letter canceling his application on April 26, 1999 (Dkt. No. 21-1), he does not deny that he signed the note. In his allegations, he asserts that the note should have been discharged during his 2002 bankruptcy proceeding, thereby admitting to the existence of the note.3 (Dkt. No. 21 at 2.) The government presented a Certificate of Indebtedness showing that it owns the note as of March 19, 2015. (Dkt. No. 1-1.) Likewise the record shows that the note is unpaid. (Id.) The Certificate of Indebtedness stated that $105,363.01 remains unpaid on the note as of March 20, 2015. (Dkt. No. 1-1 at 1.) The Defendant does not appear...

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