In Hunt v. Sallie Mae, Inc., 2011 WL 2847428 (E.D.Mich. 2011), Judge Zatkoff held that the HEA pre-empted Michigan’s state law debt collection statutes, explaining:
Defendant contends that Plaintiff’s state-law claims fail to state a claim pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) because they are preempted by the HEA. Defendant asserts that the HEA requires it to make diligent efforts to collect Plaintiff’s federally guaranteed debt, and Plaintiff’s state-law claims conflict with the HEA. Plaintiff challenges Defendant’s contention that his state-law claims are preempted. Plaintiff argues that no express or field preemption exists to bar Plaintiff’s state-law claims. Plaintiff further argues that Defendant has not demonstrated how complying with the HEA would conflict with the Michigan law relied on in his claims. Alternatively, Plaintiff asserts that even if the Court were inclined to dismiss Plaintiff’s state-law claims, the Court should do so without prejudice to permit Plaintiff to refile the state-law claims in an appropriate Michigan state court. ¶ In addressing each type of preemption, the Court will first consider whether Plaintiff’s statelaw claims are expressly preempted. According to the 34 C.F.R. § 682.411, the lender must engage in a minimum number of collection efforts in the event of delinquency on an FFELP loan, which are described in paragraphs (c) through (n) of the regulation. With respect to telephone calls, the lender is required to engage in a minimum number of collection efforts by telephone. See 34 C.F.R. § 682.411(c)-(n). For instance, if the payments have been delinquent between 16–to–180 days, “the lender must engage in at least four diligent efforts to contact the borrower by telephone.” Id. at § 682.411(d)(1) (emphasis added). If the payments are between 181–to–270 days delinquent, then the “lender must engage in efforts to urge the borrower to make the required payments on the loan.” Id. at § 682.411(e) (emphasis added). The regulation also defines the term “collection activity” to mean, among other collection efforts, “[m]aking an attempt to contact the borrower by telephone to urge the borrower to begin or resume repayment[,]” and “[a]ny telephone discussion or personal contact with the borrower so long as the borrower is apprised of the account’s past-due status.” Id. at § 682.411(l)(2), l(5). The regulation further provides a specific subsection that defines a diligent effort to contact the borrower by telephone. Id. at § 682.411(m); see also id. at § 682.411(c)-(n). The regulation also contains an express preemption subsection, which states that the “provisions of this section … [p]reempt any State law, including State statutes, regulations, or rules, that would conflict with or hinder satisfaction of the requirements or frustrate the purposes of this section.” Id. at § 682.411(o) (emphasis added). ¶ The Court finds that Plaintiff’s state-law claims are expressly preempted by the language in 34 C.F.R § 682.411(o) because, based on Plaintiff’s allegations in his Complaint, the Michigan Occupational Code, M.C.L. § 339.901, et. seq, (Count II); the MCPA, (Count III); and intentional infliction of emotional distress pursuant to Michigan’s common law (Count IV) conflict with the HEA. The parties do not dispute that the Loans were administered under the FFELP. Because the Loans were administered under the FFELP, Defendant must follow the provisions under the HEA and 34 C.F.R. § 682.411 in servicing the loan. In reviewing the HEA and 34 C.F.R. § 682.411, the express language indicates that any state law that “would conflict with or hinder satisfaction” of due diligent efforts to collect an outstanding federally guaranteed debt similar to the debt at issue in this case is preempted. See 34 CFR § 682.411(o). The due diligent efforts to collect the outstanding federally guaranteed debt includes contacting the debtor by telephone. Id. at § 682.411(c)-(n). In reviewing Plaintiff’s Complaint, he asserts three state-law claims, two under Michigan statutes and one under Michigan common law. All three claims rely on allegations that Defendant’s actions while attempting to collect Plaintiff’s outstanding debt violated these state laws. However, Plaintiff does not allege any contacts by Defendant that are inconsistent with contacting him by telephone pursuant to the HEA and its regulations. Because Plaintiff’s allegations do not indicate that Defendant engaged in actions that are impermissible under the HEA or 34 C.F.R. § 682.411, Plaintiff’s state-law claims are in conflict with the express preemption provision in the regulation. See 34 C.F.R. § 682.411(o) (preempting “any State law, including State statutes, regulations, or rules, that would conflict with or hinder satisfaction of the requirements or frustrate the purposes of this section.”). This conclusion is supported by the fact that if Plaintiff’s claims were not preempted by the HEA, Defendant would be unable to comply with its obligations under the HEA without being subject to liability under the Michigan laws at issue in this case. See, e.g., Pirouzian v. SLM Corp., 396 F.Supp.2d 1124, 1129 (S.D.Cal.2005) (citing Brannan v. United Student Aid Funds, Inc., 94 F.3d 1260, 1263 (9th Cir.1996) (holding that the HEA preempts all state law that regulates pre-litigation collection activities)); Seals v. Nat’l Student Loan Program, No. CA–02–101–5, 2004 WL 3314948, at *3, 6 (N.D.W.Va. Aug. 16, 2004) (holding, under Brannan, the HEA preempts a plaintiff’s claim for improper collection practices under the West Virginia Consumer Credit Protection Act), aff ‘d, 124 F. App’x 182 (4th Cir.2005) (per curiam).