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McInerney v. United States Department of Education

United States District Court, D. Nevada

October 11, 2017

MICHAEL McINERNEY, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, Defendant.

          ORDER

          MIRANDA M. DU, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. SUMMARY

         Before the Court is Plaintiff Michael McInerney's Request for Injunction (“PI Motion”) (ECF No. 6), Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (“MSJ”) (ECF No. 9), and Defendant Department of Education's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (“MTD”) (ECF No. 10). The Court has reviewed Defendant's response to Plaintiff's MSJ (ECF No. 16), response to Plaintiff's PI Motion (ECF No. 11) and reply in support of its MTD (ECF No. 15), as well as Plaintiff's response to Defendant's MTD (ECF No. 14) and reply regarding his PI Motion (ECF No. 13).

         For the reasons stated, the MTD is granted, and the PI Motion and MSJ are denied as moot. Plaintiff will be given leave to file an amended complaint.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural History

         Plaintiff filed a complaint under seal on June 5, 2017 (ECF No. 4), appealing the Department of Education's decision regarding the amount of his wage garnishment. Simultaneously, on June 5, 2017, Plaintiff filed a form entitled “Complaint and Motion for Injunction” (ECF No. 6) making the same allegations against Defendant in which he requested an emergency order directing Defendant to cease garnishment of Plaintiff's wages. Plaintiff requested that the motion for injunction be considered on an emergency basis, which the Court declined to do in a minute order issued on July 7, 2017. (ECF No. 8.)

         On June 12, 2017, Plaintiff filed an executed summons, which stated that a representative of the Department of Education had been served with a copy of the first complaint. (ECF No. 7.) However, on July 7, in issuing its minute order regarding the Complaint and Motion for Injunction, the Court instructed the Clerk to send a copy of the document along with the minute order by certified mail to the Office of General Counsel of the Department of Education and gave Defendant 30 days from the date of mailing to file a response.[1] (ECF No. 8.) Therefore, the Court treats the latter filed document- Complaint and Request for Injunction (ECF No.6)-as the operative complaint in this case.

         B. Facts

         In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff brings one count for a 14th amendment due process violation and requests that the Court “immediately [stop] the Department of Education from garnishing” 15 percent of his wages. (See ECF No. 6 at 4-5, 9.) Plaintiff alleges that his student loan is invalid because at the time he took out the loan he was getting social security and had a condition that prevented him from meeting the state requirements of the occupation for which the school trained him.[2] (See id. at 5, 9.) He also states that he currently makes approximately $17, 000 per year, yet Defendant claims that he makes over $4000 per month (or roughly $36, 000 per year).[3] (See id.)

         III. MTD (ECF No. 10)

         In its MTD, Defendant argues that Plaintiff's Amended Complaint should be dismissed pursuant to Rules 12(b)(6) and 8(a)(2) because the 14th Amendment does not apply to the federal government and the Amended Complaint fails to state plausible claims for relief. (ECF No. 10 at 2-3.) The Court agrees that Plaintiff's allegations do not state a legally cognizable claim under the 14th Amendment.

         A. Legal Standard

         A court may dismiss a plaintiff's complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A properly pleaded complaint must provide “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). While Rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, it demands more than “labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.) In other words, “[f]actual allegations must be enough to rise above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. ...


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