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United States v. Elliott

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

November 29, 2018


          Matthew P. Phelps The United States Attorney's Office

          Casandra Elliott PRO SE

         Dear Parties:

         A copy of the “Report and Recommendations” rendered in the above-captioned case is attached. Any objections you wish to make thereto must be made in writing and within 14 days pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b)(2) and Local Rule 301.5(b).

         After the time for filing written objections has expired, Judge Paul W. Grimm will review the “Report and Recommendations” regardless of whether you have filed written objections to it. If you should fail to file written objections within the time set forth above (or within the time of any extension specifically granted by the Court) and Judge Grimm subsequently adopts the Report and Recommendations, you will have lost your right to appeal the findings and conclusions set forth therein to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, except upon grounds of plain error.


          Gina L. Simms United States Magistrate Judge.

         This Report and Recommendation addresses the Motion for Default Judgment and Summary Judgment (the “Motion”), filed by the United States of America (“Plaintiff”) on July 5, 2018. (ECF No. 9).

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and L.R 301, the Honorable Theodore D. Chuang referred this matter to the undersigned to author a report and make recommendations concerning default judgment and/or damages. I believe that the issues have been fully briefed and do not believe an additional hearing is necessary. L.R. 105.6. As set forth more fully below, I ultimately recommend that the Court GRANT Plaintiff's Motion.

         I. Factual Background and Procedural Background

         The facts, as set forth in Plaintiff's Motion, are that on December 21, 2000, Casandra Elliott (“Defendant” or “Ms. Elliott”) completed an Application and executed a Promissory Note for a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan (“Note”) through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. (ECF No. 13). The Defendant sought consolidation of multiple outstanding loans. (Id.). By executing the Application and Note, Defendant authorized the U.S. Department of Education (“the Government” or “Plaintiff”) to pay off the loan balances, and promised to repay the Government. (ECF No. 1-3). In addition, the Defendant acknowledged that the “amount [of the disbursement] may be more or less than the estimated total balance I have indicated, ” but that “the amount of this loan will equal the sum of the amount(s) that the holder(s) of the loan(s) verified as the payoff balance(s) on that loan(s) selected for consolidation.” (Id.). Defendant further acknowledged that the failure to pay the payments as they came due would result in liability to pay “collection costs including but not limited to attorney's fees and court costs.” (Id.).

         On January 25, 2001, the Government disbursed the loaned funds, in the amount of $17, 577.01, 8% interest per annum, to the Defendant. (ECF No. 9-3, p.2).

         On September 22, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Complaint against the Defendant. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff asserted that the Government had not received any loan repayments from the Defendant, and that on July 16, 2013, the Defendant defaulted on the loan. (ECF No. 1-4). Plaintiff sought an award in the amount of $38, 912.84[1] “plus interest thereafter on the principal at $6.35 per day until the date of judgment.” (ECF No.1-4). On September 25, 2017, a summons was issued for Plaintiff. (ECF No. 2).

         On December 18, 2017, Defendant was personally served with the summons and Complaint. (ECF No. 4). The summons notified Defendant that she had 21 days from the date of service to file an Answer or otherwise respond to the Complaint. (Id.). On February 8, 2018, Plaintiff filed a “Request for Entry of Default, ” asserting that the Defendant failed to plead or otherwise defend. (ECF No. 7). On February 8, 2018, the Clerk of the Court entered default against Defendant for want of an answer or other defense. (ECF Nos. 8).

         On July 5, 2018, Plaintiff filed its Motion for Default Judgment and Summary Judgment, as well as its memorandum in support thereto. (ECF No. 9). Attached to Plaintiff's memorandum are several exhibits including: (1) a “Certificate of Indebtedness, ” which sets forth the loan disbursement amount, the principal balance, and the accrued interest as of June 26, 2018, and is signed by Christopher Bolander, a Loan Analyst with the Borrower Services - Collection Group within the Department of Education's Federal Student Aid division (ECF No. 9-2); and (2) a sworn declaration, dated June 13, 2018, from Mr. Bolander which outlines his job responsibilities and chronicles the history associated with the loan to include Defendant's borrowing history and the amount outstanding. (ECF No. 9-3). According to the Plaintiff, the total debt owed by the Defendant, as of the time of its filing, had increased to $43, 333.43, which includes principal in the amount of $28, 998.26 and interest in the amount of $14, ...

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