Federal Judge Mark Pittman, a Trump-appointed judge in the Northern District of Texas, has transferred a lawsuit challenging a student-debt rule from his court to another court in the Western District of Texas.
Federal Judge Transfers the Lawsuit to Cancel Student Debt
The Career Colleges and Schools of Texas filed a lawsuit in Pittman’s court challenging a new rule by the Education Department that would make it easier for borrowers who believe they were defrauded by the school they attended to get their debt wiped out.
Pittman was the first judge to block Biden’s broad plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for federal borrowers. Biden’s Justice Department argued that the CSST lawsuit was improperly filed in Pittman’s court, as the institutions mentioned in the suit are not based in his district, according to a report published in Yahoo News.
Pittman explained in his order why he is agreeing to transfer the lawsuit to a different jurisdiction. He wrote that the plaintiffs in the case claimed that the borrower defense rule would impact many institutions in the court’s jurisdiction, but “Plaintiff has a major problem,” Pittman said: “none of the ‘burdened’ schools or institutions that reside in this division are parties here.”
Complaint Filed Against Education Department
On February 28, CCST filed an 87-page complaint against the Education Department, saying that the department’s latest reforms to the borrower defense process create a “framework with new federal standards, adjudicatory schemes, and evidentiary presumptions.”
In a published article in Business Insider, The group referenced the department’s ability to approve borrower defense claims for certain groups, rather than individually processing claims, which the complaint said is an overreach of authority.
On March 17, the Education Department requested the case be dismissed or transferred to either the Austin or DC court, with the department saying in a supporting brief that “because the Final Rule is not directed in any meaningful way at the Northern District of Texas or any CCST members here, CCST’s claims about it also have no substantial factual relationship to this District.”