United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY J. KELLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, ECF No.
69, filed by Defendant Nelnet, Inc. (“Nelnet”)
and two motions filed by Plaintiff Patricia Gavin: a Motion
for Reconsideration, ECF No. 65 (“Pl.'s
Mot.”), and an Amended Motion for Reconsideration, ECF
No. 72 (“Pl.'s Am. Mot.”). The Court assumes
familiarity with the factual and procedural background of the
case as set forth in its prior Memorandum Opinion and Order
dated May 15, 2018. See ECF No. 63 (“May
Opinion”); Gavin v. Dep't of Air Force,
No. 17-cv-768 (TJK), 2018 WL 2223662 (D.D.C. May 15, 2018).
For the reasons set forth below, Nelnet's motion will be
granted, and Gavin's motions denied.
Nelnet's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings
has moved for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(c). See ECF No. 69-1
(“Nelnet Br.”); see also ECF No. 78
(“Pl.'s Opp'n”); ECF No. 79. “[A]
Rule 12(c) motion . . . is functionally equivalent to a Rule
12(b)(6) motion.” Rollins v. Wackenhut Servs.,
Inc., 703 F.3d 122, 130 (D.C. Cir. 2012). “In
considering a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the Court
should ‘accept as true the allegations in the
opponent's pleadings' and ‘accord the benefit
of all reasonable inferences to the non-moving
party.'” Stewart v. Evans, 275 F.3d 1126,
1132 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (quoting Haynesworth v.
Miller, 820 F.2d 1245, 1249 n.11 (D.C. Cir. 1987)).
“But the Court need not accept inferences drawn by
plaintiff if those inferences are not supported by the facts
set out in the complaint, nor must the court accept legal
conclusions cast as factual allegations.” Hettinga
v. United States, 677 F.3d 471, 476 (D.C. Cir. 2012). As
under Rule 12(b)(6), “a complaint must have
‘facial plausibility,' meaning it must
‘plead factual content that allows the court to draw
the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.'” Id. (alteration in
original) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
Court will grant the motion, because at least two
considerations require dismissal of Gavin's claims
as Nelnet argues, the complaint does not contain “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief” as required by Rule
8(a)(2). Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); see Nelnet Br. at 16.
“‘[A] complaint that is excessively long,
rambling, disjointed, incoherent, or full of irrelevant and
confusing material' will patently fail the Rule's
standard, and so will ‘a complaint that contains an
untidy assortment of claims that are neither plainly nor
concisely stated, nor meaningfully distinguished from bold
conclusions, sharp harangues and personal
comments.'” Jiggetts v. District of
Columbia, 319 F.R.D. 408, 413 (D.D.C. 2017) (quoting
T.M. v. District of Columbia, 961 F.Supp.2d 169, 174
(D.D.C. 2013)), aff'd sub nom. Cooper v. District of
Columbia, No. 17-7021, 2017 WL 5664737 (D.C. Cir. Nov.
1, 2017). That fairly describes Gavin's complaint, which
leaves the reader guessing exactly what her claims are, which
claims are brought against which Defendants, and how her
disjointed factual allegations support those claims.
See ECF No. 1. Her subsequent filings have added
to the extent the Court can discern a claim against Nelnet
from Gavin's filings, it is not one on which relief can
be granted. Gavin appears to claim that Nelnet, her loan
servicer, is required to discharge her federal student loans.
But there is no private right of action under the Higher
Education Act of 1965, 20 U.S.C. § 1001 et
seq., which governs federal student loans. See
McCulloch v. PNC Bank Inc., 298 F.3d 1217, 1221 (11th
Cir. 2002) (collecting cases); Kemper v. U.S. Dep't
of Educ., 285 F.Supp.3d 145, 149 (D.D.C. 2018). Rather,
a discharge must be sought administratively from the
Secretary of Education. See, e.g., Johnson v.
U.S. Dep't of Educ., 580 F.Supp.2d 154 (2008)
(example of APA challenge to denial of student-loan
discharge). Gavin does not claim to have ever requested a
discharge administratively. And even if Gavin did have a
cause of action for discharge of her student loans, it does
not appear that Nelnet would be a proper defendant. See
Johnson v. Duncan, 746 F.Supp.2d 163, 168 n.4 (D.D.C.
2010) (explaining that loan servicer had “no power or
authority to discharge [plaintiff's] federally guaranteed
brief also presents other potentially meritorious arguments
for dismissing Gavin's claims. See Nelnet Br.
Gavin, for her part, provides no meaningful response to these
arguments, instead reciting a hodgepodge of allegations that,
for the most part, do not even mention Nelnet. See
Pl's Opp'n. By failing to address Nelnet's
arguments, Gavin has effectively conceded them. See
Wannall v. Honeywell, Inc., 775 F.3d 425, 428 (D.C. Cir.
2014). The Court will not address these other arguments in
detail, because the foregoing analysis makes sufficiently
clear that Gavin's claims against Nelnet must be
Gavin's Motions for Reconsideration
has filed two motions seeking reconsideration of the
Court's Memorandum Opinion and Order dated May 15, 2018.
Pl.'s Mot.; Pl.'s Am. Mot. In addition to
reconsideration, the motions also seek various other relief.
All of these requests will be denied.
Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) “recognizes [the
court's] inherent power to reconsider an interlocutory
order ‘as justice requires.'” Capitol
Sprinkler Inspection, Inc. v. Guest Servs., Inc., 630
F.3d 217, 227 (D.C. Cir. 2011). “Considerations a court
may take into account under the ‘as justice
requires' standard include whether the court
‘patently' misunderstood the parties, made a
decision beyond the adversarial issues presented, made an
error in failing to consider controlling decisions or data,
or whether a controlling or significant change in the law has
occurred.” Univ. of Colo. Health at Mem'l Hosp.
v. Burwell, 164 F.Supp.3d 56, 62 (D.D.C. 2016) (quoting
Isse v. Am. Univ., 544 F.Supp.2d 25, 29 (D.D.C.
2008)). “In general, ‘a court will grant a motion
for reconsideration of an interlocutory order only when the
movant demonstrates: (1) an intervening change in the law;
(2) the discovery of new evidence not previously available;
or (3) a clear error in the first order.'”
Id. (quoting Stewart v. Panetta, 826
F.Supp.2d 176, 177 (D.D.C. 2011)).
support of her requests for reconsideration, Gavin asserts
that the Court's prior opinion contained the following
error: the Court supposedly stated that her ex-husband
retired in 2003, when in fact he “served in the
Louisiana Air National Guard from 2000 to 2009.”
See Pl.'s Mot. ¶ 4. She argues that this
allegation is the “fulcrum” of her claims.
Id. ¶ 14.
argument does not accurately describe the Court's prior
opinion, nor does it justify reconsideration. In attempting
to summarize Gavin's allegations, the Court's prior
opinion stated that Gavin's ex-husband “served in
the Air Force until his retirement in 1999” and
“came out of retirement in 2009.” May Opinion at
2, 3. These statements reflected Gavin's own filings,
which stated that “[i]n 1999 he left the military to
accept an assignment in private industry, ” and that he
“was returned to active duty in 2009.” ECF No.
62-1 at 14, 15. It may well be that the word
“retirement” was ill chosen, since Gavin also
alleges that her ex-husband served in the Louisiana Air
National Guard in the interim. See Id. at 14. But
absolutely nothing in the Court's prior opinion turned on
this factual ...