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11th Circuit: Student Borrower Consumer Claims not Preempted by HEA


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An 11th Circuit panel ruled last week that student loan borrowers may assert state law misrepresentation claims against a student loan servicer that falsely told them their FFEL loans qualified for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. The servicer, joined by USED, argued that the Higher Education Act preempted the borrowers' state law claims, because the HEA mandates certain disclosures and expressly preempts state laws that would require additional or different disclosures. Attorneys general and consumer lawyers around the country have been battling various versions of these preemption and related sovereign immunity arguments. 

Kate Elengold and Jonathan Glater have posted an excellent article, the Sovereign Shield, summarizing the state of play.