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United States v. Kaniadakis

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

November 27, 2017




         This matter comes before the Court pursuant to the United States of America's renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. # 43), filed on November 8, 2017. Pro se Defendant Steven J. Kaniadakis responded on November 21, 2017. (Doc. # 45). For the reasons that follow, the Motion is granted.

         I. Background

         “As a student at the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, [Kaniadakis] applied for and [was] granted Health Education Assistance Loans (HEAL)” made by a private lender. (Doc. # 43-2 at 1). Kaniadakis “consolidated [his] HEAL loans into one HEAL Relief Account loan in the amount of $146, 575.13” and “signed a promissory note on February 25, 1995, agreeing to repay the loan at a variable rate of interest.” (Id.; Doc. # 43-1 at 3-5). “Between October 23, 1995, and February 4, 1997, [Kaniadakis] made sixteen [] payments totaling $11, 633.75.” (Doc. # 43-2 at 1).

         On September 12, 1997, Kaniadakis filed for bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Alaska. (Id.). The majority of Kaniadakis's debts were “discharged on June 22, 1998, however, [Kaniadakis's] HEAL debt was not dischargeable under bankruptcy.” (Id.). Due to the bankruptcy, the promissory note was assigned from the private lender to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on October 7, 1997. (Id.). HHS informed Kaniadakis that it was the current holder of the note by letter dated October 7, 1997. (Id.). Despite numerous attempts by HHS to establish a repayment schedule with Kaniadakis, a repayment schedule was not set and no further payments were made. (Id. at 1-2).

         On May 26, 2017, the United States initiated this default of student loan action against Kaniadakis. (Doc. # 1). According to the Complaint, Kaniadakis is indebted to the United States in the total amount of $443, 170.01 for the principal and interest accrued for the consolidated student loan. (Id. at 1-2; Doc. # 1-2). Kaniadakis filed a motion to dismiss the Complaint on June 27, 2017, (Doc. # 11), which the Court denied on July 13, 2017. (Doc. # 15). Subsequently, Kaniadakis filed his Answer on July 31, 2017. (Doc. # 17).

         On June 29, 2017, the Court entered its Case Management and Scheduling Order (Doc. # 12), setting a discovery deadline of August 28, 2017. But Kaniadakis moved to extend the discovery period by sixty days on August 17, 2017, arguing that further discovery was necessary regarding his payment history. (Doc. # 21). After the United States indicated that it did not oppose the requested extension (Doc. # 23), the Court granted Kaniadakis's motion, extended the discovery deadline to October 27, 2017, and entered an Amended Case Management and Scheduling Order. (Doc. ## 24, 25).

         Then, on September 15, 2017, the United States filed its first Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. # 30). Kaniadakis then filed numerous motions to compel discovery and responded to the Motion for Summary Judgment, arguing that the Motion was premature because discovery was still underway. (Doc. ## 31, 32, 35). The Court denied the United States' first Motion for Summary Judgment without prejudice on September 27, 2017, after finding that the Motion was premature. (Doc. # 36). The Magistrate Judge granted Kaniadakis's Second Motion to Compel on October 24, 2017 (Doc. # 41), and the United States subsequently filed a notice of compliance indicating that it had provided the requested to discovery to Kaniadakis. (Doc. # 42).

         Now, after the discovery period has ended, the United States has filed its renewed Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. # 43). Kaniadakis responded in opposition on November 21, 2017. (Doc. # 45). The Motion is ripe for review.

         II. Legal Standard

         Summary Judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows 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). A factual dispute alone is not enough to defeat a properly pled motion for summary judgment; only the existence of a genuine issue of material fact will preclude a grant of summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986).

         An issue is genuine if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Mize v. Jefferson City Bd. of Educ., 93 F.3d 739, 742 (11th Cir. 1996)(citing Hairston v. Gainesville Sun Publ'g Co., 9 F.3d 913, 918 (11th Cir. 1993)). A fact is material if it may affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Allen v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 121 F.3d 642, 646 (11th Cir. 1997). The moving party bears the initial burden of showing the court, by reference to materials on file, that there are no genuine issues of material fact that should be decided at trial. Hickson Corp. v. N. Crossarm Co., Inc., 357 F.3d 1256, 1260 (11th Cir. 2004)(citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)). “When a moving party has discharged its burden, the non-moving party must then ‘go beyond the pleadings, ' and by its own affidavits, or by ‘depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, ' designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Jeffery v. Sarasota White Sox, Inc., 64 F.3d 590, 593-94 (11th Cir. 1995)(citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324).

         If there is a conflict between the parties' allegations or evidence, the non-moving party's evidence is presumed to be true and all reasonable inferences must be drawn in the non-moving party's favor. Shotz v. City of Plantation, Fla., 344 F.3d 1161, 1164 (11th Cir. 2003). If a reasonable fact finder evaluating the evidence could draw more than one inference from the facts, and if that inference introduces a genuine issue of material fact, the court should not grant summary judgment. Samples ex rel. Samples v. City of Atlanta, 846 F.2d 1328, 1330 (11th Cir. 1988) (citing Augusta Iron & Steel Works, Inc. v. Emp'rs Ins. of Wausau, 835 F.2d 855, 856 (11th Cir. 1988)). However, if the non-movant's response consists of nothing “more than a repetition of his conclusional allegations, ” summary judgment is not only proper, but required. Morris v. Ross, 663 F.2d 1032, 1034 (11th Cir. 1981).

         III. ...

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