United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
K. Johnstone United States Magistrate Judge
plaintiff Melvin Marinkovic filed this action in forma
pauperis, asserting several claims against: the principals of
a student loan processor, the United States Department of
Education, and the United States Secretary of Education, in
connection with his attempt to consolidate old student loans
and apply for new loans. His complaint is before this court
for preliminary review, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2) and LR 4.3(d)(2).
magistrate judge conducts a preliminary review of pleadings,
like Marinkovic's, which are filed in forma pauperis.
See LR 4.3(d). The magistrate judge may recommend to
the district judge that one or more claims be dismissed if,
among other things, the court lacks jurisdiction, a defendant
is immune from the relief sought, or the complaint fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2); LR 4.3(d). In conducting its preliminary
review, the court construes pro se complaints liberally.
See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per
curiam). The complaint must contain “sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to
relief.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (citation omitted). The court treats as true all
well-pleaded factual allegations, and construes reasonable
inferences in plaintiff's favor. See
Ocasio-Hernández v. Fortuño-Burset, 640
F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011).
Allegations against non-government defendants
Michael Osborne, Jason Osborne and Lisa Bloomfield are
principal officers of Credit Adjustments, Inc.
(“CAI”), a company that processes student loan
collections, accommodations, and evaluations for future
lending. At the direction of the defendant Department of
Education (“DOE”), Marinkovic contacted CAI in
the fall of 2018 about consolidating his outstanding student
loans in order to qualify for additional lending and pursue
a November 2018 phone call, CAI told plaintiff it had
previously denied plaintiff's consolidation request
because it had received unclear forms from DOE. During the
same conversation, CAI reconsidered its position and told
plaintiff it had approved consolidation and would send
Marinkovic documentation to that effect. CAI also informed
plaintiff that consolidation was contingent on his waiving
any challenge to the $53, 000 student loan balance on
DOE's records. After plaintiff told CAI that he would not
waive any such challenge, CAI withdrew its consolidation
complained to the DOE, whose ombudsman directed CAI to
reconsider its decision. Although CAI contacted plaintiff by
letter with a request to call CAI, it neither responded to
Marinkovic's phone calls nor to a “demand
latter” Marinkovic sent in January 2019. Plaintiff
filed the instant lawsuit approximately one month later.
Allegations against DOE and DOE Secretary DeVos
sued the DOE and its Secretary more than forty years ago for
failing to address or honor student loan deferment requests
he submitted, and for failing to answer his correspondence
demanding a review of certain charges. That lawsuit was
dismissed, according to Marinkovic, because he failed to
exhaust administrative remedies. The DOE has ignored
Marinkovic's repeated requests for information throughout
the intervening years. Marinkovic asserts that DOE's
refusal to answer resulted is part of a vendetta in response
to his original lawsuit. He further argues that his
interaction with CAI - which he describes as DOE's agent
- amounted to a “formal denial” of the
administrative review referred to in his original lawsuit,
and prevented him from completing his higher education plans,
secure meaningful employment, and avoid poverty.
has sued CAI Chairman Michael Osborne, its President, Lisa
Bloomfield, and its CEO, Jason Osborne (“the CAI
defendants”), as well as the DOE and Secretary of
Education Betsy DeVos. He asserts several constitutional
claims and one state-law claim for tortious interference with
prospective economic advantage against the CAI defendants.
Marinkovic seeks declaratory and injunctive relief against
the DOE in order to discharge and remove his prior loans from
default status and to declare unspecified DOE loan repayment
rules void as applied. Finally, he asserts
Bivens claims Secretary ...