Fishman Haygood Secures First Nationwide Certification of Both Injunctive Relief & Damages Classes in Navient Student Loan Case

On Apr. 11, 2023, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York certified a Rule 23(b)(2) class for declaratory relief and injunctive relief and a Rule 23(b)(3) damages class in the Navient Solutions student loan matter (Case 1-17-01085-ess Homaidan et al v. Sallie Mae, Inc. et al). The class includes approximately 7,000 individuals who attended or intended to attend Title IV institutions and who received direct-to-consumer private loans owned or serviced by Navient. Plaintiffs allege the loans at issue were dischargeable in bankruptcy because they exceeded the cost of attendance at the Title IV institution for which they were obtained. This ruling represents the first nationwide class certification for both injunctive relief and damages in any student loan debtor class action against Navient.

As detailed in her opinion, Judge Elizabeth S. Strong presented four conditions for class inclusion; first, loans must have exceeded the “cost of attendance” at the institutions. Next, the debtor must have obtained bankruptcy discharges after Oct. 17, 2005. Finally, debtors must have been subjected to Navient’s collection attempts without reaffirming their loans. Click here to read the full decision and order.

Fishman Haygood attorneys Jason Burge, Kaja Elmer, and Lara Richards represent the plaintiffs in complaints against Navient. Attorneys from Boies Schiller Flexner LLP and Jones, Swanson, Huddell, LLC serve as co-counsel.

This case has a lengthy history in the Courts. According to the plaintiffs, Navient and its agents refused to recognize the discharges of their private student loans exceeding the cost of attendance at Title IV schools and continued to collect on loans even after borrowers obtained bankruptcy discharges. Navient allegedly called borrowers’ relatives and employers, sometimes multiple times a day.

In early March 2023, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nebraska granted a class certification motion argued by attorneys Burge and Elmer to certify a class of bankrupt student loan debtors across the entire U.S. Eighth Circuit, for similar, but distinct claims arising from loans made to borrowers to attend non-Title IV institutions. The matter (Case 21-08023-TLS Woodard v. Navient Solutions, LLC) relates to claims by consumer education loan borrowers who, though they allegedly discharged their private student loans via bankruptcy, continued to be subject to collection activity on those loans by student loan servicer Navient.

Chief Judge Thomas L. Saladino’s earlier ruling represents the first time that a contested motion for class certification has been granted in a student loan debtor case. Read more about last month’s ruling here.

Fishman Haygood represents both plaintiffs and defendants in class action and mass action litigation, both in Louisiana and across the nation. Click here for more information.