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POWELL v. AMERICAN GENERAL FINANCE

March 22, 2004.

TANYA R. POWELL, Plaintiff,
v.
AMERICAN GENERAL FINANCE, INC., BENEFICIAL, a.k.a. HOUSEHOLD FINANCE REALTY CORP., INC., BSB BANK & TRUST CO., INC., NBT BANK, CHARTER ONE BANK, FSB, CITIFINANCIAL, INC., HSBC BANK, INC., and M&T BANK CORP., INC., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: FREDERICK SCULLIN, Chief Judge, District Page 2

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

[EDITORS' NOTE: THIS PAGE CONTAINED ATTORNEY NAMES.] Page 3

I. INTRODUCTION

  Plaintiff filed a complaint in this Court on December 31, 2002, alleging that Defendants engaged in unfair and discriminatory lending practices in violation of federal banking laws and the United States Constitution. More specifically, she alleges violations of the Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. She also alleges violations of the Fair Housing Act ("FHA"), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act ("ECOA"), the Community Reinvestment Act ("CRA"), and the Truth-in-Lending Act ("TILA"). See 42 U.S.C. § 3603; 15 U.S.C. § 1691; 12 U.S.C. § 2901; 15 U.S.C. § 1601;*fn1 respectively.

  II. BACKGROUND

  Plaintiff, an African-American resident of Binghamton, filed her pro se complaint on December 31, 2002, and her amended complaint on February 26, 2003. She alleges that Defendants discriminated against her based on her gender and race by declining to extend her business credit, personal credit, or a home mortgage loan. She also alleges that Defendants have systematically discriminated against African-Americans by denying them personal and business credit on the basis of race.

  Presently before the Court are all Defendants' motions to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Page 4

  III. DISCUSSION

 A. Standard for Dismissal

  In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court must accept the allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); see also Burnette v. Carothers, 192 F.3d 52, 56 (2d Cir. 1999). Hence, dismissal is appropriate only if "`it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief" Sheppard v. Beerman, 18 F.3d 147, 150 (2d Cir. 1994) (citations omitted). This standard is "applied with particular strictness when the plaintiff complains of a civil rights violation." Branum v. Clark, 927 F.2d 698, 705 (2d Cir. 1991) (citations omitted).

  Where a litigant proceeds pro se, the court must construe the allegations in the complaint liberally and dismiss the complaint only where the litigant could prove no set of facts entitling her to relief. See Lerman v. Ed. of Elections, 232 F.3d 135, 140 (2d Cir. 2000).

  With these standards in mind, the Court will address Plaintiff's claims.

 B. Plaintiff's standing

  Article III, Section 2 of the United States Constitution limits the jurisdiction of federal courts to "cases and controversies." See, e.g., Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83, 94-95 (1968). Part of this limitation on federal court jurisdiction requires that a plaintiff have standing to bring her claim. See id. at 99-100. A plaintiff only has standing if she can show that she is "a proper party to request an adjudication of a particular issue. . . ." Id. at 100. A plaintiff can demonstrate that Page 5 she has standing by showing that (1) she has sustained an injury; (2) the injury is fairly traceable to a defendant's conduct; and (3) the injury may be redressed through the relief that the plaintiff seeks. See Fed. Election Comm'n v. Akins, 524 U.S. 11, 19 (1998) (citations omitted). To demonstrate an injury, a plaintiff must show that she sustained an actual, concrete injury that is neither ""`conjectural or hypothetical.'"" Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992) (quotation omitted).

  Defendant BSB Bank & Trust Co. ("BSB") asserts that Plaintiff lacks standing to bring her claim because she did not apply to it for credit. According to Defendant BSB, it has no record of Plaintiff applying for credit in January, 2003. Defendant BSB contends instead that Plaintiff solicited it for funds to support Enable ...


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