The legal clinic is currently handling an unusual client case. The client took out several thousand dollars in student loans in the early 1990’s. Almost 20 years later, a private government contractor is collecting $40 per month from her Social Security retirement. The client obtained a discharge in bankruptcy court in 1997, which specifically included the student loans. Getting student loans discharged in bankruptcy is unusual so it was not surprising the collector denied that it was actually discharged. The client asked for and received an order from the bankruptcy court confirming that the student loan was discharged, and ordering the agency to stop collecting. This was not good enough for the collector, who demanded the client commence an adversary proceeding in bankruptcy. Unfortunately, the client was unrepresented and lost the case. The court dismissed her petition for failing to answer the collector’s discovery questions.
Into this morass stepped third-year student David Petersen. Through the summer, Petersen worked through the court file, learning a great deal about bankruptcy law. He has drafted a sheaf of documents to support a demand that the collector cease and desist. If that fails, the clinic is prepared to file a motion for contempt and damages in the original bankruptcy court in the Western District of Washington.