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United States v. Strader

United States District Court, W.D. New York

March 29, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ERIC STRADER, Defendant.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          HON. FRANK P.GERACI JR. Chief Judge, JR United States District Court

         The United States of America brings this action against Defendant Eric Strader to collect on a student loan that he allegedly took out in 1977 and/or 1978. ECF No. 1. On October 13, 2015, the United States moved for summary judgment (ECF Nos. 12, 13), to which the Defendant responded (ECF No. 15), and the government filed a reply (ECF No. 16).

         The Court heard oral argument on June 16, 2016, and issued an oral decision from the bench that denied the United States' summary judgment motion without prejudice to refiling. See ECF No. 17.

         As was explained from the bench, the Court denied the summary judgment motion for two primary reasons. First, there were several issues in the case that were unclear to the Court from reading the government's submissions. Counsel for the United States did not disagree with this assessment, and in fact told the Court that “the history [of the case] is a little dim;” “the documentation from the 1977 loan is missing;” and “there were perhaps two notes, one lost.” The Court mentioned some of the other unclear issues, which included not having sufficient information regarding the breakdown of the amounts of the loans and any payments, not knowing exactly what the loans were, and not knowing how certain figures, including interest, were calculated.

         Second, the Court noted that the Statement of Material Facts submitted with the summary judgment motion was not proper. Specifically, the Court told counsel for the United States that “the Statement of Material Facts you filed really just goes through the procedural history here, it doesn't spell out what needs to be spelled out in a Statement of Material Facts, including the loans, the date of the loans, whether or not there have been any payments or offsets, so I'll give you an opportunity to refile this.”

         The government had over two months to correct these errors and re-file their summary judgment motion, yet inexplicably, the United States did nothing to correct their statement of material facts, ignoring the Court's directions from the June 16, 2016 appearance. Indeed, the Statement of Material Facts dated August 24, 2016 that accompanies the re-filed summary judgment motion is identical to the Statement of Material Facts dated October 8, 2015 that was filed with the original summary judgment motion, and which the Court specifically noted was deficient. Cf. ECF Nos. 13-2, 20-4.

         Both of those Statements of Material Facts only recite the following as being material facts not in dispute:

1. This action was commenced on 4/24/2015, by the filing of the original Complaint in the office of the Clerk of this Court.
2. The Summons and Complaint has been served on the defendant.
3. Defendant, Eric Strader (hereinafter “Debtor”) served an Answer on or about 6/27/15.
4. This is an action to collect on a defaulted student loan.
5. For the reasons set forth in the Memorandum or Law in Support of the United States Motion for Judgment(sic), the Plaintiff is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, as the Answer filed is not sufficient to bar summary judgment.

ECF Nos. 13-2, 20-4.

         The Local Rules of the Western District of New York provide that a party moving for summary judgment must submit a “Statement of Facts” which requires the moving party to include with its motion for summary judgment a “separate, short, and concise statement of the material facts to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue to be tried.” See W.D.N.Y. Loc. R. Civ. P. 56(a)(3). The Local Rules also provide that “[e]ach statement of material fact by a movant or opponent must be followed by citation to evidence which would be admissible, as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(e), ” with citations identifying “with specificity” the relevant page or paragraph of the cited authority. See Id. ...


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