United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
action, Plaintiffs Maged Abdelmalik and Hanan Awadalla
(“Plaintiffs”), seek judicial review of an
administrative decision by the United States Small Business
Administration (“Defendant”), permitting wage
garnishment under 28 U.S.C. § 2415 et seq.
Before the Court are the parties' cross-motions for
summary judgment (Doc. Nos. 9, 12), which are ripe for
disposition. For the following reasons, the Court will grant
summary judgment in favor of Defendant.
following facts germane to the present motion are
undisputed. On April 15, 2005, Defendant agreed to
guarantee 75% of a loan issued to Plaintiffs through PNC Bank
in the amount of $303, 800.00 for their business AAA
Convenience, Inc., d/b/a Uni-Mart. (Doc. Nos. 10 ¶ 1; 13
¶ 1; 8-1 at 2.) The loan was secured, in part, by
unconditional personal guarantees from Plaintiffs. (Doc. Nos.
10 ¶ 2; 8-1 at 40.) The loan note stated that a default
would occur if the monthly payment was not paid when due.
(Doc. No. 10 ¶ 3.) Plaintiffs defaulted on the loan in
2009. To date, $207, 274.21 is due and owing on the loan.
(Doc. Nos. 10 ¶ 6; 8-1 at 24.) Plaintiffs do not dispute
that they defaulted on the loan. (Doc. No. 10 ¶ 6.)
contacted Plaintiffs regarding repayment of the loan on or
about September 20, 2015. (Doc. Nos. 10 ¶ 8; 8-2 at 70.)
Consequently, Defendant referred the debt to the United
States Treasury Department (the “Treasury
Department”), for collection pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2415. (Doc. No. No. 10 ¶ 8; 8-1 at 27). On or
about January 14, 2016, the Treasury Department notified
Plaintiffs of their intent to initiate administrative wage
garnishment proceedings. (Doc. Nos. 10 ¶ 11; 8-1 at 27.)
The notice indicated a delinquent debt due in the amount of
$207, 274.24 and advised Plaintiffs that a wage garnishment
order would be delivered to Plaintiffs' employer to
deduct 15% of Plaintiffs' disposable income from each pay
period until the debt was satisfied. (Doc. Nos. 10 ¶ 10;
8-1 at 10.) Plaintiffs submitted a timely objection to the
wage garnishment action on the basis that collection was
barred by the statute of limitations set forth under 28
U.S.C. § 2415. (Doc. Nos. 10 ¶ 12; 8-1 at 24.)
matter was assigned to Administrative Wage Garnishment
Hearing Officer Christina Goebelsmann (“the Hearing
Officer”), and a written records hearing followed. On
November 30, 2016, the Hearing Officer found that the statute
of limitations was inapplicable to the administrative wage
garnishment proceedings. (Doc. Nos. 10 ¶ 17; 8-1 at 6.)
Specifically, the Hearing Officer determined that 28 U.S.C.
§ 2415(a) applies only to civil actions for money
damages and not administrative wage garnishment proceedings.
(Doc. Nos. 10 ¶ 18; 8-1 at 5.) As a result, the Hearing
Officer upheld the wage garnishment order against
Plaintiffs' future earnings. (Doc. Nos. 10 ¶ 20; 8-1
seek judicial review of the Hearing Officer's decision
permitting wage garnishment under 28 U.S.C. § 2415
et seq., claiming that the administrative wage
garnishment is barred by the statute of limitations set forth
under 28 U.S.C. § 2415(a). (Doc. No. 1.)
January 30, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a complaint against
Defendant in this Court seeking judicial review of an
administrative decision by Defendant permitting wage
garnishment under 28 U.S.C. § 2415. (Doc. No. 1 at 5.)
On May 5, 2017, Defendant filed an answer to the complaint.
(Doc. No. 4.) On June 30, 2017, Defendant submitted a
seventy-page Administrative Record and Index. (Doc. No. 8.)
On July 14, 2017, the parties filed cross-motions for summary
judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 (Doc.
Nos. 9, 12), together with supporting briefs and statements
of material facts in support of the motions, and
corresponding exhibits (Doc. Nos. 10-11, 13). On July 14,
2017, Plaintiffs filed a brief in opposition to
Defendant's motion for summary judgement. (Doc. No. 13.)
On August 14, 2017, Defendant filed a brief in opposition to
Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. (Doc. No. 14.)
Defendant filed a reply brief to Plaintiffs' motion for
summary judgment on August 28, 2017. (Doc. No. 15.) Having
been fully briefed, the cross-motions for summary judgment
are accordingly ripe for disposition.
Summary Judgment Standard
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that summary judgment is
proper when “the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56;
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
248-51 (1986). When deciding a motion for summary judgment,
the Court views the facts in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party, who is “entitled to every reasonable
inference that can be drawn from the record.”
Merkle v. Upper Dublin Sch. Dist., 211 F.3d 782, 788
(3d Cir. 2000). However, the nonmoving party may not simply
sit back and rest on the allegations in the complaint, but
must “go beyond the pleadings and by her own
affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, designate specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986)
(internal quotations omitted). Summary judgment should be
granted where a party “fails to make a showing
sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential
to that party's case, and on which that party will bear
the burden at trial.” Id. at 322. The
appropriate standard for summary judgment does not change due
to cross-motions being presented. United States v.
Hall, 730 F.Supp. 646, 648 (M.D. Pa. 1990).
Arbitrary and ...