Sovereign Immunity — Education Department Immune from FDCPA Suit Relating to Student Loan — Unequivocal Congressional Waiver Required

From Ha v. U.S. Dep’t of Educ., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2870 (D.D.C. Jan. 14, 2010):

Incredibly, the determination of whether the FDCPA contains a waiver of sovereign immunity is a matter of first impression within our Circuit. At least one U.S. Court of Appeals and several U.S. District Courts, however, have evaluated this issue and found that the FDCP A does not contain an unequivocal or express waiver of sovereign immunity as to ED's efforts to collect on a debt. See Wagstaff v. U.S. Dep't of Educ., 509 F.3d 661, 664 (5th Cir. 2007); United States v. Errigo, No. 09-CV-12506, 2009 WL 127863, *2 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 20, 2009); Little v. Tenn. Student Assistance Corp., 537 F. Supp. 2d 942, 944 (W.D. Tenn. 2008); Sorrell v. Ill. Student Assistance Comm'n, 314 F. Supp. 2d 813, 817 (C.D. Ill. 2004). After reviewing these decisions, I have similarly concluded that the FDCPA does not contain an express waiver of sovereign immunity. Therefore, I will not assert jurisdiction over the defendant based on the FDCPA in accordance with "the longstanding principle that only Congress can waive an executive agency's sovereign immunity." Wagstaff, 509 F.3d at 664.

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