Salazar v. King, No. 15-832 (2d Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed a class action alleging that federal student loans were fraudulently procured on their behalf when the Wilford beauty schools falsely certified that plaintiffs had an ability‐to‐benefit (ATB) from the education they received from Wilfred. Plaintiffs allege that the DOE’s refusal to temporarily suspend collection of the student loan debt of putative class members, and refusal to send them notice of their potential eligibility for a discharge, was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 701. The court concluded that it has jurisdiction to review this case because plaintiffs had standing when they filed their class action complaint and this case fits into the narrow exception to the mootness doctrine for class action claims that are “inherently transitory.” On the merits, the court held that plaintiffs are entitled to judicial review because there is sufficient law to apply to the challenged agency decisions. The text of the relevant statute directs that the DOE “shall” discharge a borrower’s loan liability when a school has falsely certified a student’s ATB. DOE’s regulations and informal agency guidance direct that the DOE “shall” temporarily suspend collection on loans and notify borrowers of their possible eligibility for a discharge when the DOE has reliable information that a borrower “may be eligible” for discharge. Because plaintiffs' claims are judicially reviewable under the APA, the court vacated and remanded.