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Labonnie Copeland Allen v. U.S. Department of Education

December 14, 2010

LABONNIE COPELAND ALLEN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rosemary M. Collyer United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

LaBonnie Copeland Allen, proceeding pro se, filed an Amended Complaint alleging that the U.S. Department of Education violated that Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692 et seq., in attempting to collect monies owed on student loans and also violated the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552, by failing to provide requested documents. The Department of Education moves to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. Because the FDCPA claims are barred by sovereign immunity, those claims will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Further, the remaining claims will be dismissed for failure to state a claim.*fn1

I. FACTS

Ms. Allen borrowed money for her daughter's education via two student loans, called Parent Plus Loans. Relating to these loans, she filed an Amended Complaint against the Department of Education ("DOE") alleging seven Claims:

Claim 1 -- DOE violated the FDCPA by failing to provide information regarding the balance on the loans;

Claim 2 -- DOE violated the FDCPA by failing to provide verification of the debt owed;

Claim 3 -- DOE violated the FDCPA by engaging in certain prohibited conduct, such as calling her at work;

Claim 4 -- DOE failed to respond to a letter requesting all documentation pertaining to the Parent Plus Loans;

Claim 5 -- Four loan accounts appear on Ms. Allen's credit report when she only took out two loans;

Claim 6 -- Ms. Allen lost her job as a teacher in 2000; and Claim 7 -- Ms. Allen paid other student loans off years ago and is capable of paying off these.

Am. Compl. [Dkt. # 11] at 1--4. Ms. Allen seeks to have the amounts she owes "thrown out" or "drastically reduced." Id. at 4.

II. LEGAL STANDARDS AND ANALYSIS

A. Motion to Dismiss Claims 1-3 under the FDCPA for Lack of Jurisdiction

Federal district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). When reviewing a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), the court must review the complaint liberally, granting the plaintiff the benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts alleged, Barr v. Clinton, 370 F. 3d 1196, 1199 (D.C. Cir. 2004), although the court may consider certain materials outside the pleadings. Settles v. U.S. Parole Comm'n, 429 F.3d 1098, 1107 (D.C. Cir. 2005). No action of the parties can confer subject matter jurisdiction on a federal court because subject matter jurisdiction is an Article III and statutory requirement. Akinseye v. District of Columbia, 339 F.3d ...


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