(CN) – The 7th Circuit affirmed dismissal of a lawsuit accusing a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation employee of telling a bank to stop lending to a largely black Chicago suburb.
Jessie Williams claimed Family Bank stopped loaning him money after Jerry Fleming, an FDIC associate examiner, told the bank and its president to refuse all further loans to Williams and other residents of Harvey, Ill., because of their race.
At the time, Williams had more than $3 million in personal and business loans, was in good standing and had never been late with a payment.
Williams sued the bank, Fleming and the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).
The district court dismissed the claim against the bank, because it’s not a state actor, and said the FTCA “expressly exempts” the United States from slander lawsuits.
The federal judge then determined that Williams’ remaining claims against Fleming must be dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
The Chicago-based appeals court affirmed, but on different grounds.
“Because Williams’ suit against the United States was on the merits, and not for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, his remaining Bivens suit was properly barred by … the FTCA,” Judge Michael Kanne wrote.
A Bivens claim allows a plaintiff to sue a federal agent for constitutional violations, an action that’s otherwise barred by the FTCA.