University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Church of Zion Christian Center v. Southtrust Bank FH-AL-0002
Docket / Court 1:96-cv-00922-C-C ( S.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Case Summary
On September 20, 1996, the Church of Zion Christian Center, Inc., and several of its leaders, filed a lawsuit under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), 15 U.S.C. §1691, against the Southtrust Bank of Alabama, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. The ... read more >
On September 20, 1996, the Church of Zion Christian Center, Inc., and several of its leaders, filed a lawsuit under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), 15 U.S.C. §1691, against the Southtrust Bank of Alabama, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. The plaintiffs, represent by private counsel, sought compensatory and punitive damages, alleging violations of their rights by the defendant's denial of their loan application. Plaintiffs, who were African-American, further alleged that race discrimination played a role in the bank's decision to deny their loan application.

The District Court (Magistrate Judge William. E. Cassady) established a scheduling order for discovery, which the plaintiffs apparently failed to meet. On January 22, 1997 the defendants move to compel plaintiffs' initial disclosures. Defendants then filed a motion to dismiss on February 14, 1997. On February 21, 1997 the Court (Mag. Judge Cassady) granted the motion to compel and ordered the plaintiffs to pay a fine to the defendant's counsel for their failure to meet the deadline. On June 6, 1997 the defendants moved for partial summary judgment.

Both parties filed briefs on the matter, and the District Court (Judge Richard W. Vollmer, Jr.) referred the case to Magistrate Judge Cassady on July 9, 1997. On July 31, 1997, the Court (Judge Cassady) granted in part and denied in part the defendant's motion for summary judgment. Judge Cassady dismissed the individual plaintiffs' complaints against the bank, and dismissed one the bank's named defendants, citing both pleading errors and lack of standing. The Court left the question of whether the bank had violated the church's rights under the ECOA and whether it could subsequently collect damages up to a jury during trial. Church of Zion v. Southtrust 1997 WL 33644511, 1997 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 12425. (S.D. Ala.)

Nearly two months later, on September 12, 1997, the parties filed a joint stipulation for dismissal with prejudice, presumably pursuant to a private settlement agreement. The Court (Mag. Judge Cassady) signed the order and dismissed the case on September 16, 1997. Because the docket provides no links or further information, we cannot be certain that there was a settlement, or what its terms may have been.

Nick Niles - 07/11/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-area
Lending
Race
Black
Causes of Action Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), 15 U.S.C. § 1691
Defendant(s) Southtrust Bank of Alabama
Plaintiff Description A non-denominational Christian church that was turned down for a loan after the pastor and two elders (all black males) met with the bank.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1997
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
1:96-cv-00922-C-C (S.D. Ala.) 09/16/1997
FH-AL-0002-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion 07/31/1997 (1997 WL 33644511 / 1997 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 12425) (S.D. Ala.)
FH-AL-0002-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Judges Cassady, William E. (S.D. Ala.) [Magistrate]
FH-AL-0002-0001 | FH-AL-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Huntley, Willie J. Jr. (Alabama)
FH-AL-0002-0001 | FH-AL-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Holtz, D. Charles (Alabama)
FH-AL-0002-0001 | FH-AL-0002-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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