S&C Obtains Dismissal of All Claims Brought by the State of Illinois Against Sallie Mae

July 10, 2018

Judge Kathleen Pantle of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, dismissed without prejudice all claims brought by the State of Illinois against S&C client Sallie Mae Bank in a case alleging that Sallie Mae Bank, along with formerly affiliated entities (Navient Corporation and certain Navient subsidiaries) engaged in unfair and deceptive acts in connection with private student loans in violation of Illinois's Consumer Fraud Act (CFA).

In granting Sallie Mae Bank's motion to dismiss, Judge Pantle adopted wholesale Sallie Mae Bank's argument that the State had failed to plead its CFA claim against Sallie Mae Bank, as opposed to the other defendants, with the requisite specificity. In particular, the court held that the complaint's extensive use of group pleading failed to satisfy the heightened pleading standard for CFA claims. For example, because the State's claims against Sallie Mae Bank covered the period 2000 to 2009, but Sallie Mae Bank was only established in 2005, it was unclear which, if any, of the allegations concerned conduct by Sallie Mae Bank. Judge Pantle also rejected the State's argument that a lower pleading standard applies to CFA claims brought by the attorney general as compared to private litigants. In light of its decision on the insufficiency of the pleadings, the court did not rule on Sallie Mae Bank's separate argument for dismissal based on National Bank Act preemption.

The S&C team was led by David Braff and Amanda Davidoff.