For those facing collections efforts from Sallie Mae for Western Culinary Inst./Le Cordon Bleu Portland tuition

So we’ve been hearing a lot from class members about Sallie Mae efforts at collection of debts arising from loans for those who attended Western Culinary Institute and Le Cordon Bleu Portland who are part of the class action against those defendants.

If you are in that situation, please understand that our role is limited to serving as class counsel to seek recovery in the current case, Adams, et al. v. Western Culinary Institute, et al., State of Oregon, Multnomah County Circuit Court Case No. 0803-03530. That said, I took the liberty of drafting a letter that class members who are facing collection may want to send.

I’ve pasted the letter below, but there is some important information:

1) We cannot and are not representing class members on collection issues. If you are in a collection situation, I strongly urge you to to confer with separate counsel in your state about your rights and remedies. If you do so, please provide them with information about this lawsuit.

2) This letter is specifically intended only for the use of those members of this class who are facing collection claims from Sallie Mae. It is not meant for generic use. If you are not part of this case, use of this letter might create very serious problems for you. I strongly suggest that you confer with counsel about your own unique circumstances.


I understand that you represent Sallie Mae and that you are attempting to collect student loan debts related to my attendance at Western Culinary Institute, now known as Le Cordon Bleu Portland. I am writing to make clear that I dispute the debt.

I borrowed money from Sallie Mae to attend the school, and in doing so signed an agreement that included a holder in due course provision. As part of a class action pending in the State of Oregon, Adams v. Western Culinary Institute, State of Oregon, Multnomah County Circuit Court Case No. 0803-03530, I am pursuing claims for tuition refunds based upon fraud and violations of the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act. The defendants are Career Education Corp. and Western Culinary Institute/Le Cordon Bleu Portland.

Sallie Mae has no right to seek collection of a debt incurred by fraud. If you persist in your collection efforts, I reserve all rights, including the right to make a counterclaim and seek class adjudication of Sallie Mae’s rights to collect on this disputed debt.

You may be aware that the Federal Trade Commission recently indicated that lenders may be held financially responsible for monetary damages to the extent the underlying seller—here Career Education Corp.—is unable to satisfy its obligations.

If you have questions about the underlying case, I suggest you contact lead counsel, David F. Sugerman, 707 SW Washington St., Suite 600 Portland, OR 97205; 503.228.6474.


Morgan says

I am part of this class action lawsuit and have been paying religiously every month sallie mae interest only payments, but does this mean if i gave them this letter i may stop making these outragously high monthly payments?

David Sugerman says

I can't give legal advice over the internet. If you have specific questions about your individual situation, I suggest that you talk to someone in your state who handles collections defense cases.

Tina says

I appreciate your information on the net about class action lawsuits against Sallie Mae. Are you aware of other suits brought against them for repeated violations of the 'one time payment' internet billing site agreement OR Sallie Mae repeatedly attempting to deduct funds from a savings instead of a checking account? Your assistance is appreciated.

David Sugerman says

Thanks. I don't know anything about it.

Kendell Stiles says

I sent this letter to sallie mae and they refuse to accept it. Is there anyone you know of in the Fort Worth TX area that I can contact or what kind of attorney should I look for? Thanks for you attempt to help, SallieMae just refuses to even attempt to help

David Sugerman says

Your best bet is to look for attorneys who are members of the National Assoc of Consumer Advocates.

Thomas Brantley says

My life is gambled every day on a credit bases with Sallie Mae

Hello my name is Thomas Brantley, and my wife name is Jackie Brantley.
My story starts with my wife and I moving from Houston Texas to Arkansas to get
a fresh start thinking that we could better our self by going back to college and getting
on our feet. In year 2000 I was making $55,000 working in the delivery field with Air
Born Express before we moved to Arkansas. I became disabled in the year 2000 while I was working with them. The money that I have saved in my 401K and savings was slowly dwindling away. By 2003 we had to make a move or we would have been dead
in the water. So my wife and I decided to move to Arkansas to go to college thinking we could better our selves and get back on our feet. We started going back to college in 2003
borrowing from Sallie Mae thinking this was going to be good. Well I was attending
Harding University along with my wife which is a Christian College. By 2005 I finally
found a surgeon that would operate on me, because the surgery was a high risk, let alone
I did not have insurance. I went to a Hospital called UAMS, which is University Arkansas Medical School. I had extensive work done on my C2 C3 C4 vertebra they were Crushed, along with the rest of my spine in my T section had built up calcium all the way around it. Allowing only 29 % blood flow. And my lower Lumbar needed surgery as well. Well I was attending college on morphine, and barely making it. In 2005 they classified me as total disabled. My wife has been taking care of me, and she was studying to be a nurse, but she had to pull out as well because of our 2 children, and I. Our loans were getting to high so we decided to withdraw from college. Well I ended up defaulting, and she did as well. Now both of our loans have exceeded so much on the interest, and them charging both of us as default, it’s a sad way to say you’re trying to get an education when you can’t even pay them back. So the education department of Sallie Mae, decided to get into my Disability, which they are taking with out a letting me know the balance at any time. First Sallie Mae will take at least $1,545.00 which they call it a
Off set. It vary how big your loans are. They do this more than once. If your paying say
$200.00 a month, you will keep paying until it reaches $1545.00. With this in mine, you
do not get credit for this. It’s not even taken off your principal. In my eyes there should
be a attorney that will jump on this. I can’t count the students that are in the same situation as I am. What kind of system is set for the younger generation to prosper in life
with a collection agency slamming students of this nature. If you lived in another country
over seas, there education is free. If our Nation is to grow and prevail with the next generation and the next generation, how can we do so with this backward system.
If someone does not stand up for our rights and for what is right and wrong, and
if the students don’t take the initiative stop these Major Companies and Insurance Co. Controlled by the lobbyist paying congress off. AMERICA IS IN BIG TROUBLE.

Signed by
Thomas Brantley

If there is a firm that is excepting a client on a class action Law Suit, Please Add ME

May the Lord be with us All

David Sugerman says

Mr. Brantley-
Thank you for sharing your story. One thought: if you are totally disabled, you may have a way to discharge student loans in bankruptcy. I am not an expert in this area. I suggest you speak with a consumer bankruptcy lawyer in your state. You want someone with experience handling student loan issues. Good luck. David

Fran Tyler says

I attended WCI March 2004- May 2006. I recently came across this and was wondering if I'd qualify? I am a low-income, single mother of two. The loans I got through Sallie Mae are in collections because I have never made enough money to even begin to pay them back.

David Sugerman says

Fran-I am not sure whether we responded to this comment. If you have done so, please call our office at 503.228.6474 so that we can get more information.

Branden Contrino says

I graduated from WCI and I previously asked to be included in Multnomah County Circuit Court Case No. 0803-03530. Is this case still pending, dismissed or settled? Thank you

David Sugerman says

Branden-The case IS still going on. It is on appeal. Please check in with my office at 503.228.6474 to update your contact information

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