Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Scalia Death Results in 4-4 Tie in ECOA Case

For weeks, we have wondered the impact Justice Scalia's death would have on a few high impact financial service cases that were pending before the Court at the time of his death.  Today, we received an answer in at least one of those cases. The Supreme Court affirmed, in a 4-4 tie, the Eighth Circuit's decision in Hawkins v. Bank of Raymore, effectively holding that spousal guarantors do not have standing to assert violations of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.  The single sentence per curiam opinion of the Court rejects expansion of the definition of creditor to include guarantors. 

The issues before the Court were whether spousal guarantors have standing to sue under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (the “ECOA”) and whether the Federal Reserve Board’s Regulation B impermissibly extended the coverage of ECOA to spousal guarantors.  Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore, C.A. No. 14-520.  In August of 2014, the Eighth Circuit dismissed ECOA claims brought by two spousal guarantors, holding that the guarantors were not applicants with standing to bring ECOA claims. Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore, 761 F.3d (8th Cir. 2014).

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