Welcome to Case Chronicles, where we tell the stories of people who received student loan debt relief via adversary proceedings.
All information in Case Chronicles is from the public record, but we have changed any names to provide some privacy.
Edgar* is a lifelong resident of Los Angeles, a grandfather, and a victim of fraud that threw his life into disarray.
In 2002, Edgar had been happily married— then the police came knocking. His wife had been secretly depositing fraudulent checks into his bank account, making him an unwitting accomplice to her crimes. After being charged with several felonies and enduring a court battle, Edgar regained his freedom when his wife finally confessed that she had acted alone.
For Edgar, though, the damage had been done: He’d lost his long-time job with the U.S. Forest Service, ending a 13-year career in emergency response. Even though he was innocent, his criminal record — four dismissals and one acquittal, no convictions — made him unemployable to government agencies.
Looking for a fresh professional start, Edgar attended college from 2005 to 2009 and earned a degree in Urban Studies. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough; Edgar couldn’t find a job that made use of his degree. It didn’t help that he had graduated in the depths of the Great Recession.
Eventually, Edgar found work as a truck driver making $36,000 a year, but his debts kept piling up. In 2010, he lost his home and moved into his truck. By 2013, he simply could not meet his financial obligations, and he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Although bankruptcy helped Edgar eliminate many of his debts, he still owed almost $90,000 in student loans — which his bankruptcy attorney had not attempted to discharge. With his significant student loans still outstanding, Edgar continued to struggle.
To compound matters, he became the sole caretaker of his two grandchildren in 2015. With two new mouths to feed, Edgar once again confronted impossible financial circumstances — driven in large part by his student loan debt, which had grown to more than $110,000.
Thankfully, a new bankruptcy attorney recognized the potential for Edgar’s case. With her help, Edgar filed an adversary proceeding to discharge his student loan debt in February 2017. His attorney argued his student loans imposed an undue hardship as defined by the Brunner test, which would qualify it to be discharged.
After a year of work on the case and extensive negotiation with Educational Credit Management Corporation and the Department of Education, Edgar’s attorney won him the relief he desperately needed. Almost 90% of his student loan debt was discharged, and Edgar would only need to pay $75 a month for 15 years to pay off the remaining 10%.
At Lexria, our mission is to make financial justice accessible. We’re starting with student loan discharge for people who have filed or are considering filing bankruptcy — people like Edgar.
Are you struggling with student loans? Take our quick, free assessment to see if you may be a fit.
* Name has been changed to protect privacy.