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Markham v. Colonial Mortgage Serv. Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
605 F.2d 566 (1979)


Jerry and Marcia Markham (plaintiffs) were engaged to be married. While engaged, but prior to their marriage, the Markhams submitted a joint application to Colonial Mortgage Service Co. Associates, Inc. (Colonial) (defendant) for a mortgage. As part of the process, Colonial conducted a credit check on both of the Markhams individually. However, in determining the Markhams’ creditworthiness, Colonial refused to aggregate their incomes, even though Colonial would have done so for a married couple who applied for a mortgage. Colonial subsequently rejected the Markhams’ application, stating that their separate incomes were insufficient for the loan. The Markhams filed suit against Colonial, alleging that by failing to aggregate their incomes in determining their creditworthiness, Colonial had violated the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (Act), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1691 et seq., which prohibited creditors from discriminating against applicants on the basis of sex or marital status. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Colonial, and the Markhams appealed.

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