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Marzouq v. U.S. Department of Education

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

July 9, 2019

DOUGLAS MARZOUQ, Plaintiff,
v.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, Defendant.

          Mona K. Majzoub Magistrate Judge.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS [ECF NO. 7]

          Victoria A. Roberts United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Douglas Marzouq brings this action against the United States Department of Education (the “Department”), alleging that it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) by failing to properly investigate Marzouq's claims that federal student loans were fraudulently obtained in his name; the Department reported the allegedly fraudulent loans to credit reporting agencies, and Marzouq maintains that his credit score was harmed as a result.

         The Department moves to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1); it says that this Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Marzouq says that Congress waived the United States' sovereign immunity against civil suits for damages in the FCRA.

         The Court finds that the FCRA does not contain a clear waiver of sovereign immunity that would subject the United States to civil suits for damages; the Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over Marzouq's claim.

         The Department's motion to dismiss is GRANTED.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Marzouq lost his wallet in 2012; in 2016, after obtaining his credit report, he noticed that several fraudulent student loans were reported. In early 2017, Marzouq sent a letter to Equifax, the credit reporting agency, disputing the reported loans. Equifax opened an investigation and forwarded Marzouq's inquiry to the Department. On April 2, 2017, Marzouq received the results of Equifax's investigation-the Department allegedly did not remove the fraudulent loans from Marzouq's credit report. Marzouq says the Department's failure to correct the errors in his credit file caused him to suffer “credit and emotional damages, ” as well as “undue stress and anxiety.”

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         “A motion to dismiss an action under Rule 12(b)(1) raises the question of the federal court's subject matter jurisdiction over the action.” 5A Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1350, at 194 (2d ed. 1990). The Plaintiff bears the burden to prove jurisdiction. See generally RMI Titanium Co. v. Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 78 F.3d 1125, 1134-35 (6th Cir. 1996); see also Rogers v. Stratton Indus., 798 F.2d 913, 915 (6th Cir. 1986). “When considering a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, this Court may look beyond jurisdictional allegations in the complaint and the Court may consider whatever evidence the parties submit.” Fairport Int'l. Exploration, Inc. v. Shipwrecked Vessel Known as THE CAPTAIN LAWRENCE, 105 F.3d 1078, 1081 (6th Cir. 1997), vacated on other grounds, 523 U.S. 1091, 118 S.Ct. 1558, 140 L.Ed.2d 790 (1998).

         IV. ANALYSIS

         A. Sovereign Immunity Generally

         The United States Supreme Court instructed that sovereign powers have “traditionally enjoyed” a “common-law immunity from suit.” Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, 436 U.S. 49, 58 (1978). Indeed, “[a]bsent a waiver, sovereign immunity shields the Federal Government and its agencies from suit.” F.D.I.C. v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475 (1994). Sovereign immunity is “jurisdictional in nature.” Id. The ‚Äúterms of ...


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