United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON District Judge
Navient Solutions, Inc., serviced plaintiff Ian
Humphrey's student loans from 2010 to 2014, when Humphrey
received a discharge for being disabled. Humphrey is suing
Navient under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. §
1681s-2, on the ground that Navient failed to conduct a
reasonable investigation after receiving notice of multiple
disputes that it was furnishing inaccurate information about
Humphrey's loans to credit reporting agencies.
motions are now before the court: (1) Navient's motion
for summary judgment, Dkt. 79; and (2) Navient's motion
to strike the affidavit of Sam Wayne, Dkt. 123. The court
will grant the first motion and deny the second. Navient is
entitled to summary judgment because Humphrey has not shown
that he suffered any harm as a result of Navient's
alleged failure to conduct a reasonable investigation, which
means that Humphrey lacks standing to sue. Because the court
does not need to consider the Wayne affidavit in resolving
the summary judgment motion, it is not necessary to decide
whether the affidavit is admissible.
following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted.
November 2010, Navient began servicing seven of
Humphrey's student loans. Humphrey never made any
payments to Navient.
to Humphrey, in October 2011, he sent Navient an application
for a “Total and Permanent Disability Discharge.”
Navient says that it has no record of receiving that
March 12, 2012, Humphrey asked Navient to send him an
application for a “Total and Permanent Disability
Discharge.” Navient sent Humphrey an application form
the same day.
September 2012 to December 2012, Navient furnished
information to consumer reporting agencies that
Humphrey's accounts were past due. Navient continues to
furnish information that Humphrey's accounts were past
due during that time.
November 26, 2012, Humphrey returned a completed application
for a disability discharge, but it was not the same form that
Navient sent him. Because it was an expired version of the
form that the U.S. Department of Education no longer
accepted, Navient notified Humphrey on December 7, 2012, that
it could not process his application and it sent Humphrey a
July 2013 to December 2013, Navient furnished information to
consumer reporting agencies that Humphrey's accounts were
past due. Navient continues to furnish information that
Humphrey's accounts were past due during that time.
October 14, 2013, Humphrey called Navient. After Humphrey
stated that he “had been considered permanently
disabled in the past, ” Dkt. 82, ¶ 15, Navient
informed Humphrey how to apply for a disability discharge.
December 6, 2013, Navient received from Humphrey a completed
form called “Loan Discharge Application: False
Certification (Disqualifying Status).” Navient did not
respond to this request. However, after December 2013,
Navient stopped reporting that Humphrey had a past due amount
or otherwise owed any money.
February 6, 2014, Nelnet (the Department of Education's
servicer for disability discharges) informed Navient that it
had received an application for a disability discharge from
Humphrey. In July 2014, Humphrey's student loans were
in July 2014 and once each in August 2014, November 2014,
April 2015, and September 2015, Navient received a so-called
“Automated Consumer Dispute Verification” about
Humphrey's student loans from a consumer reporting agency
such as Equifax or Trans Union. The parties do not explain
exactly what an “Automated Consumer Dispute
Verification” is, but the court's understanding
from context and other cases is that it is both a notice from
a consumer reporting agency that there is a dispute about the
accuracy of information in a credit report and a request for
the creditor to verify that information. For simplicity, the
court will refer to an Automated Consumer Dispute
Verification as a verification request.
verification request included one or more of the following
“dispute codes”: “Not liable for account
(i.e., ex-spouse, business). If liable, provide or confirm ID
and ECOA Code”; “Consumer states inaccurate
information. Provide or confirm ID and account
information”; “Not his/hers. Provide or confirm
complete ID”; “Claims true identity fraud,
account fraudulently opened. Provide or confirm complete
ID”; and “Claims company will delete. Verify all
account information.” Both July 2014 requests included
a remark that Humphrey's loan was “[d]ischarged via
TPD through NELNET.” The November 2014 verification
request included a document in which Humphrey alleged that an
admissions counselor “set up these loans without power
of attorney using my info” and that “[t]hey have
no proof I signed for these loans.” The April 2015
request included an allegation from Humphrey that a
“school falsely certified me for a . . . Federal Loan
that I was not eligible for. I did not authorize these
response to each of these requests, Navient reviewed its
“internal records” related to Humphrey's
“personal identification information, promissory notes,
and loan documentation” and determined that Humphrey
incurred the loans and that the information was accurate.
E.g., Dkt. 82, ¶ 57. Each time, Navient
reported back to the consumer reporting agency that the
information it furnished was correct, with a few exceptions
that are not relevant to the case.
sent letters dated June 18, 2014, July 30, 2014, and
September 16, 2015, in which he complained about his student
loans. The 2014 letters are addressed to “Sallie
Mae” rather than Navient, but Humphrey says that he
sent all of the letters to Navient.
June 2014 letter, Humphrey wrote that his credit report
showed “late payment periods” even though there
were “no late payments.” Humphrey cited several
reasons to support his view, including that there were
“circumstances where the items did not require payment
due to their status in a government evaluation process ...