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United States v. Kylin

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 30, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
CHRISTOPHER KYLIN, Defendant.

          ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Stefan R. Underhill, United States District Judge.

         I. Background

         The United States of America (“the government”) brought this action on behalf of the United States Department of Education, seeking to obtain judgment against Christopher Kylin. The government alleges that Kylin is “indebted to the [government] in the principal amount of $172, 814.00, plus interest of $71, 486.81 on th[at] principal[, ] computed at the rate of 5.37% and a daily rate of $25.45 through June 30, 2018, and thereafter at such rate as the Department establishes pursuant to Section 455(b) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, 20 U.S.C. 1087e.” See Compl., Doc. No. 1, ¶ 3. Attached to the government’s complaint is a Certificate of Indebtedness, which indicates that Kylin executed a promissory note to secure a Direct Consolidation loan from the United States Department of Education on or about July 22, 2010, that the loan was disbursed in the principal amount of $172, 814.00 on September 27, 2010, and that Kylin defaulted on the obligation on November 2, 2011. See Certificate of Indebtedness, Doc. No. 1-1. The certificate further provides that the total debt owed, as of March 21, 2018, is $241, 832.29. Id.

         In his Answer, Kylin, proceeding pro se, states that he “does not admit the value of the obligation as stated by the [government], ” and that “these obligations have been circulating in financial markets for a number of years.” Ans., Doc. No. 15, at 1. Kylin attaches to his Answer five letters dated August 31, 2017, which he alleges are “copies of an offer from . . . the originator of the loans.” Id. at 1, 3–7. Kylin contends that those attachments demonstrate that “the actual market value of these loans on August 31, 2017 was $3, 739.64, ” and that “they would have depreciated still further” since then. Id. at 1.

         The government now moves for summary judgment against Kylin, requesting that the court enter judgment “in the amount of $246, 463.95 as of September 19, 2018, plus interest in the amount of $25.45 per day, that continues to accrue to the date of judgment.” Mot. for Summ. J., Doc. No. 16-1, at 5. The government also requests that, should the court enter judgment in favor of the government, “interest continue to accrue from the date of judgment at the statutory rate in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1961.” Id. Attached as Exhibit A to the government’s Local Rule 56(a)1 Statement is a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Application and Promissory Note signed by Kylin on July 22, 2010, which contains a promissory note for the loan at issue.[1] See Local Rule 56(a)1 Statement, Doc. No. 16-2, at 1; Ex. A to Local Rule 56(a)1 Statement, Doc. No. 16-3, at 3.

         Kylin initially opposes the motion on two grounds: first, on the ground that he had not received a copy of the summary judgment motion from the government and second, on the ground that “[t]he value of the debt” is a material and disputed fact. See Mem. In Opp’n to Mot. for Summ. J., Doc. No. 19, at 1. With respect to the latter argument, Kylin contends that the government “claim[s] a debt of $244, 300.81, ” while he “claims that the actual value of this debt is $3, 739.64.” Id. The government filed a reply, to which Kylin responded, re-asserting his argument regarding the “value” of the debt but forgoing the argument regarding lack of receipt of the government’s motion.[2]

         II. Standard of Review

         A court shall grant summary judgment when the movant demonstrates that there is no genuine dispute with respect to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986). When reviewing a summary judgment motion, a court must construe the facts of record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and must resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences against the moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158–59 (1970). Because Kylin is proceeding pro se, I must also read his “pleadings and other documents liberally and construe them in a manner most favorably” to him. United State v. Whittlesey, 2010 WL 1882283, at *2 (D. Conn. May 11, 2010) (citing Burgos v. Hopkins, 14 F.3d 787, 790 (2d Cir. 1994)).

         When a motion for summary judgment is properly supported by documentary and testimonial evidence, however, the nonmoving party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of the pleadings and instead must present sufficient probative evidence to establish a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986); Colon v. Coughlin, 58 F.3d 865, 872 (2d Cir. 1995). To present a “genuine” issue of material fact, there must be contradictory evidence “such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. “Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Id.

         If the nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of his case with respect to which he has the burden of proof at trial, then summary judgment is appropriate. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. In that instance, “there can be ‘no genuine issue as to any material fact, ’ because a complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party’s case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.” Id. at 322–23; accord Goenaga v. March of Dimes Birth Defects Found., 51 F.3d 14, 18 (2d Cir. 1995) (finding that a movant’s burden is satisfied if he can point to an absence of evidence to support an essential element of the nonmoving party’s claim).

         In an action to enforce payment of a promissory note, the government is entitled to summary judgment if it proffers evidence establishing that the defendant has “signed promissory notes, received loans pursuant to those notes, and defaulted on [his] payment obligations.” United States v. Cohan, 111 F.Supp.3d 166, 172 (D. Conn. 2015), aff’d, 667 Fed.App’x 6 (2d Cir. 2016), cert. denied, 137 S.Ct. 1078 (2017) (internal citations omitted). The government must also “support[] the amount it alleges is due.” Id. (internal citations omitted). The government’s prima facie burden can be satisfied by “a certificate of indebtedness and the promissory note sued upon.” Id. (internal citations omitted).

         Once the government makes a prima facie case, the burden then shifts to the defendant to “prove that the amount due is not owing.” United States v. Chereton, 1994 WL 374544, at *2 (N.D. Cal. July 12, 1994); see also United States v. Flynn, 2019 WL 609100, at *2 (D. Conn. Feb. 13, 2019) (noting that, once a plaintiff “has met its burden to demonstrate the debt owed by Defendant, [this] shift[s] the burden to Defendant to prove any defenses to repayment”). If the defendant does not satisfy that burden, the court should enter judgment in favor of the government. See Whittlesey, 2010 WL 1882283, at *3.

         III. Discussion

         In this case, the government has presented a Certificate of Indebtedness, indicating that Kylin executed a promissory note to secure a Direct Consolidation loan from the U.S. Department of Education on or about July 22, 2010, as well as the promissory note itself. See Certificate of Indebtedness, Doc. No. 1-1; Local Rule 56(a)1 Statement, Doc. No. 16-2, at 1; Ex. A to Local Rule 56(a)1 Statement, Doc. No. 16-3, at 3. The government has therefore made a prima facie case, and the burden shifts to ...


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