Wives Accusing Bank of Bias Head to High Court

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider whether two women who guaranteed their husbands’ business loans have a discrimination case.
     Community Bank of Raymore made four loans totaling more than $2 million to PHC Development between 2005 and 2008.
     Though neither Valerie Hawkins nor Janice Patterson have any legal interest in PHC, which needed the loans to develop a residential subdivision, the women are each the spouse of PHC’s two members.
     In connection with each loan and the subsequent modifications of those loans, Hawkins, Patterson and their husbands executed personal guaranties in favor of the bank.
     When PHC missed loan payments in April 2012, Community declared the loans in default and eventually tried to collect on the wives’ guaranties.
     The women in turn filed a federal complaint against the bank in Kansas City, Mo., taking aim at the requirement that they had to guarantee PHC’s loans.
     They claimed this requirement amounted to discrimination on the basis of marital status, in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
     A federal judge granted the bank summary judgment, however, and the 8th Circuit in St. Louis affirmed this past August.
     The Supreme Court granted Hawkins and Patterson a writ of certiorari on Monday. Per its custom, the court did not otherwise comment on the case.

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