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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 118722
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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In 1996 I got a SallieMae "Smart Loan" wherein I

Customer Question

In 1996 I got a SallieMae "Smart Loan" wherein I consolidated a number of student loans. I am now being sued by the U.S.A. for non-payment of the loans. Whatever payments I made stopped long before the year 2000. Is there a statute of limitations for the filing of a lawsuit such as this?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
I am sorry to say that for student loans, there is no statute of limitations on any of the federally subsidized student loans. The smart loan is considered a student loan and as such has no limitation period as far as enforceability. Thus, they can file suit on these loans at any time.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
They are suing for the entire balance even though I did make some payments. Unfortunately, my records don't go back that far. Can I successfully defend by raising the defense of latches, estopal or a similar defense? And if I defend the matter and ultimately lose, am I on the hook for attorney fees?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What is the case law or statutory authority for there being no statue of limitations? And does it matter if the case is filed in federal court vs. state court? Mine was filed in federal court.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Laches does not apply to the government I am afraid in these cases. You can raise that you made payments, but you have to provide some type of proof. You can argue that the proof has been destroyed by the bank and the court has discretion to give you credit for payments you can at least allege you made. If you lose, you can be assessed their attorney's fees in accordance with the terms of the loan contract which does provide that the debtor is liable for attorney's fees if they have to engage in a collection action.
It does not matter if it was filed in state or federal court. See: