United States District Court, D. Arizona
Murray Snow United States District Judge
before the Court is Plaintiff HICA Education Loan
Corporation’s motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 25.)
For the following reasons, the Court grants the motion.
August 1988 and May 1991, Defendant Sylvia Paczkowski signed
four promissory notes ("loans") with
Plaintiff’s predecessor totaling over $30, 000.
Plaintiff’s Statement of Facts ("PSOF")
¶¶ 1-4, Exs. A, C-E; Defendant’s Response
(Doc. 30) at 1. In November 2003, the loans were assigned to
Plaintiff. PSOF ¶ 5. On or about April 2013, Defendant
ceased making payments on her loans. Id. ¶ 6.
Over the next year, Plaintiff sent Defendant numerous demands
for payment, which Defendant did not answer. Id.
¶ 7, Exs. G, H, I.
before March 2014, Defendant applied to the Department of
Education ("DOE") for a complete discharge of her
outstanding loan amount due to her alleged permanent and
total disability. Id. ¶ 10. The DOE sent
Defendant’s application to the Federal Occupational
Health Service ("FOH") for review, which, on March
11, 2014, found Defendant not disabled and denied her
application. Id., Ex. K. In April 2014, Defendant
submitted additional medical records and requested a second
review by the FOH; the FOH denied her application.
Id. ¶ 11, Ex. L. In June 2015, the FOH reviewed
and denied Defendant’s application for a third time.
Id. ¶ 12, Ex. M. Finally, in August 2015, after
Defendant failed to sign and return five medical release
forms, Plaintiff informed her that her application for
cancellation of her loans due to permanent and total
disability were denied. Id. ¶¶ 13-15, Exs.
judgment is appropriate if the evidence, viewed in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party, demonstrates
"that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Substantive law determines
which facts are material and "[o]nly disputes over facts
that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing
law will properly preclude the entry of summary
judgment." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). "A fact issue is genuine ‘if
the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.’" Villiarimo
v. Aloha Island Air, Inc., 281 F.3d 1054, 1061 (9th Cir.
2002) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). Thus, the
nonmoving party must show that the genuine factual issues
"‘can be resolved only by a finder of fact because
they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either
party.’" Cal. Architectural Bldg. Prods., Inc.
v. Franciscan Ceramics, Inc., 818 F.2d 1466, 1468 (9th
Cir. 1987) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250).
"[t]he evidence of [the non-moving party] is to be
believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in
[its] favor, " the non-moving party "must do more
than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to
the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The
nonmoving party cannot avoid summary judgment by relying
solely on conclusory allegations unsupported by facts.
See Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir.
1989). "A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is
genuinely disputed must support the assertion by: (A) citing
to particular parts of materials in the record . . . or other
materials; or (B) showing that the materials cited do not
establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or
that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to
support the fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). "A trial
court can only consider admissible evidence in ruling on a
motion for summary judgment, " and evidence must be
authenticated before it can be considered. Orr v. Bank of
Am., 285 F.3d 764, 773-74 (9th Cir. 2002).
seeks summary judgment on its breach of contract claim. A
breach of contract occurs when there is: (1) a valid
contract; (2) a breach of the terms of that contract; and (3)
damages. See Snyder v. HSBC Bank, USA, N.A., 873
F.Supp.2d 1139, 1149 (D. Ariz. 2012).
does not contest the validity of the contracts,
i.e., promissory notes, underlying the four loans at
issue in this case. Defendant also does not contest that her
termination of loan payments constitutes breach of those
contracts. Nevertheless, Defendant argues that she is
permanently and totally disabled, and as such she is
"entitled to an exemption from payment of these
obligations." (Doc. 15 at 2.) Defendant essentially
argues that her breach is excused. The Defendant, however,
acting within the HEAL statutory framework which governs her
loan obligations, already applied to the DOE for cancellation
of her outstanding loan amounts on account of her alleged
permanent disability; the FOH denied those applications. As
such, her continuing failure to satisfy her outstanding loan
payments damages Plaintiff.
response to Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment,
Defendant only presented conclusory statements regarding her
alleged permanent and total disability. Defendant described
her symptoms and listed the alleged findings of multiple
doctors who treated or examined her over the years; yet, she
attached no declarations, affidavits, or other admissible
evidence supporting her symptoms or those doctors’
findings. See Taylor, 880 F.2d at 1045;
Orr, 285 F.3d at 773-74. Here, the only admissible
evidence are the FOH letters Plaintiff attached that
repeatedly denied Defendant’s previous claims to the
DOE of permanent ...