Swanson v. Citibank, N.A.

614 F.3d 400 (7th Cir. 2010)


D announced a plan to make loans using funds that it had received from the federal government's Troubled Assets Relief Program. P went to D to apply for a home-equity loan. The representative told P that she could not apply alone because she owned her home jointly with her husband; he had to be present as well. P was trigger ready to accuse D or racial discrimination. P asked to speak to a manager. When the manager joined the group, P disclosed to D that Washington Mutual Bank previously had denied her a home-equity loan. The manager warned P that, although she did not want to discourage P from applying for the loan, D's loan criteria were more stringent than those of other banks. P took an application and returned and was conditionally approved for a home-equity loan of $50,000. D hired Andre Lanier, who worked for PCI Appraisal Services, to visit P's home for an on-site appraisal. P had estimated in her loan application that her house was worth $270,000, Lanier appraised it at only $170,000. D turned down the loan and explained that its conditional approval had been based on the higher valuation. P paid for and obtained an appraisal from Midwest Valuations, which thought her home was worth $240,000. P sued Ds. P claimed a violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3605, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1691(a)(1). The district court granted Ds' motions to dismiss both theories. It relied heavily on Latimore v. Citibank Fed. Savings Bank, 151 F.3d 712 (7th Cir. 1998), a case in which this court described the evidence required to defeat a defense motion for summary judgment on a credit discrimination claim. The statements on which P relied were too indefinite, and her reliance was unreasonable. P appealed.