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United States of America v. James P. Ragan

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


October 25, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES P. RAGAN, AKA JAMES PATRICK RAGAN, JR., AKA PATRICK RAGAN DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew Senior, U.S. District Court Judge

STATEMENT OF UNCONTROVERTED FACTS AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

After consideration of the papers and arguments in support of and in opposition to Plaintiff United States of America's ("Plaintiff") Motion for Summary Judgment, this Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

UNCONTROVERTED FACTS

1. Defendant James P. Ragan ("Defendant") entered into a consolidated student loan agreement ("Promissory Note") with the Department of Education. Inthout Decl., ¶¶ 2-3, Ex. A-B.

2. This Promissory Note was guaranteed by Plaintiff and signed by Defendant. Inthout Decl., ¶3, Ex. A-B.

3. Defendant defaulted on the Promissory note by failing to pay the outstanding balances. Inthout Decl., ¶¶3-5, Ex. B.

4. Defendant paid a single payment of $500 on August 25, 2010. Inthout Decl., ¶ 3, Ex. B.; Ragan Decl., ¶7, Ex. 1.

5. As confirmed by a Certificate of Indebtedness prepared by the Department of Education, the total principal amount due by Defendant on the Promissory Note is $23,109.00, and the total interest due through February 22, 2011 is the sum of $42,708.70. Inthout Decl., ¶ 3, Ex. B.

6. Plaintiff has spent approximately $2,000 in attorney's fees on this matter. Van Houten Decl., ¶17.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

1. Suits to enforce promissory notes are among the most suitable classes of cases for summary judgment. Colony Creek, Ltd. v. Resolution Trust Corp., 941 F.2d 1323, 1325 (5th Cir. 1991).

2. Given that patent license agreement are governed by ordinary principles of state contract law, this Court follows the choice of law provisions indicated by the license agreement and interprets the contract based on Minnesota law. Power Lift, Inc. v. Weatherford Nipple-up Systems, Inc., 871 F.2d 1082, 1085 (Fed. Cir. 1989).

3. To recover on a promissory note, the government is entitled to summary judgment if it presents evidence of the existence of the note, the defendant's default, and the amount due. United States v. Irby, 517 F.2d 1042, 1043 (5th Cir. 1975); United States v. Freeman, 2002 WL 467688, at *1 (N.D. Cal. March 22, 2002).

4. The government can meet its burden on a summary judgment motion by submitting signed promissory notes and certificates of indebtedness from the Department of Education. United States v. Freeman, 2002 WL 467688, at *1 (N.D. Cal. March 22, 2002).

5. If the government meets its prima facie burden, the burden shifts to the defendant to prove that the amount due under the promissory note is not owing. Irby, 517 F.2d at 1043; see Celotex v. Catrett, 477 U.S. at 324 (holding that in a summary judgment, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to show that there is a genuine issue of material fact).

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20111025

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