Unpublished Disposition, 887 F.2d 1089 (9th Cir. 1989)Annotate this Case
Lawrence William JORDAN, Plaintiff-Appellant,vDELON OLDS COMPANY, an Oregon Corporation, dba DeLon Honda,Defendant-Appellee.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted Sept. 14, 1989.* Decided Oct. 3, 1989.
Before PREGERSON, TROTT and RYMER, Circuit Judges.
Lawrence Jordan appeals a judgment of the district court holding that he was not an applicant for credit as defined by the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1991, et. seq. We find the district court applied the correct definition of "applicant," and we affirm.
Plaintiff Lawrence Jordan ordered a new car from Defendant Delon Olds in October of 1985. At that time, plaintiff filed an application for credit under the name of his corporation, Lawrence Jordan, P.C. Defendant forwarded the credit application to General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC). When plaintiff attempted to take delivery of the automobile, he was notified that the credit application had been declined for unknown reasons. However, GMAC did indicate it would reconsider the application if an appropriate cosigner were added to the instrument. Plaintiff then made an application under his own name, Lawrence Jordan. GMAC believed that it was the intent of the parties that Lawrence Jordan, in his individual capacity, become a cosigner on the application for credit in the name of his corporation. As a result, GMAC updated the corporate application. It then rejected this application based upon the "declining credit" of both the corporation and Lawrence Jordan. The decline letter was sent to Lawrence Jordan P.C. A decline letter was not sent to Mr. Jordan personally.
The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), 15 U.S.C. § 1691a(b), defines an "applicant" as:
[A]ny person who applies to a creditor directly for an extension, renewal, or continuation of credit, or applies to a creditor indirectly by use of an existing credit plan for an amount exceeding a previously established credit limit.
15 U.S.C. § 1691a(b).
After a trial on the merits, Magistrate Hogan found that, " [a] preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that Plaintiff was not an applicant for credit but that the applicant was Lawrence W. Jordan, P.C." to whom GMAC had properly sent a notice of declination.
Appellant argues we should adopt the more expansive definition of "Applicant" found in 12 C.F.R. Sec. 202.2(e). We decline to follow this regulation as "applicant" is defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1691a(b) itself. Furthermore, a qualification in 12 C.F.R. Sec. 202.2 expressly states, "For the purposes of this regulation, unless the context indicates otherwise, the following definitions apply." Id. (emphasis added).
Appellant next argues that the evidence failed to support the finding that he was not an applicant. A district court's findings of fact are reviewed under the clearly erroneous standard. Fed. R. Civ. P. 52(a); La Duke v. Nelson, 762 F.2d 1318, 1321 (9th Cir. 1985). The district court, applying the correct definition of "applicant," found that Mr. Jordan was not an applicant for credit. The record discloses nothing to contradict this finding let alone demonstrate that it was clearly erroneous. The district court's judgment is