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August 02, 2016

Long-running student loan dispute settled

The Education Department on October 7, 2010 stipulated that Robert Lepelletier, Jr. had fully discharged a disputed student loan debt incurred in the late 1970s. The discharge covered "all of the debt, including interest, penalties and collection costs," according to a filing in U.S. District Court.

The stipulation brought to an end a lawsuit filed by Lepelletier the year before. Lepelletier says he repaid the loan in the early 1980s. The Education Department, though, had been demanding payment, through the use of a collection agency. 

In October 2010, Suits & Sentences reported that U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon ruled that sovereign immunity blocked him from issuing an injunction that would stop the Education Department from employing a collection agency. Leon's interim ruling dealt with a technical issue and did not represent a judgment on the merits of the claim; McClatchy apologizes for any ambiguity.


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"Suits & Sentences" is a legal affairs blog written by Michael Doyle, a reporter for McClatchy's Washington Bureau. He was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Yale Law School, where he earned a Master of Studies in Law; he also earned a Masters in Government from The Johns Hopkins University with a thesis on the Freedom of Information Act. He teaches journalism as an adjunct instructor at The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs.

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