|Title||In re; Randall v. Navient Solutions, Adv. Pro. No. 19-00368, Main case: In re; Terry Lucille Randall, Case No. 19-21815|
Michelle M. Harner
The chapter 7 debtor commenced an adversary proceeding to challenge the nondischargeability of her student loan debt under section 523(a)(8) of the Bankruptcy Code. The debtor argued that she could not repay such debt without undue hardship. The lender disputed that conclusion. At the time of trial, the debtor was 68 years old, did not own any meaningful assets, had limited ability to increase her wages or reduce her expenses, and had made some attempts to repay her student loan debt. The Court concluded, based on the entirety of the record, that the debtor had met her burden to establish that requiring her to repay the full amount of her student loan debt to the lender would impose an undue hardship on her in accordance with section 523(a)(8) of the Bankruptcy Code and the Brunner test. Her evidence, however, also demonstrated some ability to repay some portion of that debt. As such, the Court found adequate grounds to grant the debtor a partial discharge of her student loan debt. The Court further found that such a partial discharge in the face of undue hardship is permissible and aligns with the objectives of both sections 727(a) and 523(a)(8) of the Bankruptcy Code.