CUNA brought its concerns about frivolous lawsuits brought under the Americans With Disabilities Act to Senate Judiciary Committee leadership Tuesday. A letter was sent for the record of the committee’s hearing on lawsuit abuse and its effect on small businesses.
“Credit unions were created to serve all members in need of financial services and they strongly support the ADA," said Jim Nussle, CUNA president/CEO in the letter. "If credit unions were approached with ways to increase access to any product or services for members with disabilities, they very likely would take appropriate steps necessary to address those concerns. However, instead they have been immediately threatened with litigation brought under the ADA that targets highly technical alleged violations, based on unclear requirements for compliance."
Nussle went on to point out that credit unions have seen a “drastic rise” in demand letters threatening ADA litigation over the past few months.
“Often the same law firms and lawyers will target many different credit unions, even under the guise of seeking protection for non-members of the credit union that could arguably have no reason for even wanting to access the website. These shakedowns are harming credit unions and their members and are making it difficult for credit unions to serve all members including those who are protected by the ADA.”
The letter urges the committee to seek clarification on these issues with the Department of Justice and mentions that the DOJ issued a proposal in 2010 that would address these issues. The rule was not finalized and has since been classified as “inactive.”
More than 60 legislators have joined CUNA’s call for ADA clarity, and CUNA leaders met with the DOJ last week to detail the need to website-specific ADA guidance. State leagues have also joined CUNA's call for guidance.