FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA
Bankruptcy Attorney Chad Van Horn has amended a recent lawsuit against Navient Solutions Inc., a student loan servicer. The amended lawsuit adds alleged violations of the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act and two federal statutes, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
According to the lawsuit, Navient Solutions engaged in “illegal practices” by calling the plaintiff’s cellphone “at least 75 times during a 17-day period to collect a debt that was discharged in bankruptcy.”
“My client is quite upset about this case and only wants to move on with her life,” said Van Horn, managing partner of Fort Lauderdale-based Van Horn Law Group.
Van Horn represents Verhonda Williams of Boca Raton. According to the lawsuit, Williams received two study loans from Sallie Mae, one for $8,000 and the other for $7,000, to cover living expenses and course materials while preparing to take the Florida Bar exam.
The study loans are not student loans or qualified education loans “as defined in the Higher Education Act, the Internal Revenue Code, or the Bankruptcy Code,” the suit says. They are private consumer loans, and therefore dischargeable in bankruptcy proceedings, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit states that Williams passed the bar exam, then struggled to find work and was later laid off from a foreclosure defense firm. At the time, according to the lawsuit, she owed more than $194,000 in student loans. According to court records, she filed for Chapter 7 protection, claiming she had less than $16,500 in assets and approximately $239,000 in liabilities. Court records indicate the bankruptcy was discharged in October 2015.
According to the lawsuit (Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida – Palm Beach Division Bankruptcy Case No: 15-22082-EPK, Adversary Case No.: 16-01244-EPK), the debt was discharged in bankruptcy, the bar study loans were dischargeable private consumer loans and the debt was nonexistent, inaccurate or invalid, yet the servicer nonetheless attempted to collect the debt from (Williams).
Van Horn is representing Williams on a contingency basis.
“I have all the confidence in the world that Mr. Van Horn will prove my case,” Williams said. “A lot of people I graduated with are working temporary jobs. They have a law degree and they can’t find work. This (suit) could be beneficial for a lot of people in the same boat.”
Navient Solutions is a private student loan servicer that acquired its servicing rights from Sallie Mae.
The company services private student loans in Florida and is one of the largest private student loan servicers in the country. The lawsuit claims that Navient violated the law “when (according to the suit) it sent the debt collection letters to (Williams) advising her that the bar study loans were not discharged in bankruptcy,” and failed to give Williams a “fresh start,” the suit says.
“This case has turned my client’s life upside down,” said Van Horn. “I’m looking forward to our day in court.”
About Van Horn Law Group
Van Horn Law Group P.A. is a Fort Lauderdale-based law firm with practice areas in personal bankruptcy, corporate bankruptcy, student loan consolidation and litigation, estate planning/asset protection, LGBT estate planning/asset protection, foreclosure defense, corporate representation, debt consolidation, civil litigation, debt relief, and consumer law. Managing Partner Chad T. Van Horn is the founding partner of the firm and a South Florida business leader. Through a combination of dedicated philanthropy, spirited entrepreneurship and legal expertise, he applies his resources and networking to helping people. A Florida State Bar-certified attorney, Van Horn’s many honors include the prestigious AV Preeminent ranking, the highest rating awarded to attorneys by Martindale-Hubbell. For additional information, Van Horn Law Group can be reached at (954) 765-3166