CU sees victory as ADA accessibility suit tossed in Va.
A federal district court in Virginia Friday threw out a lawsuit brought against a credit union alleging website accessibility issues under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Credit unions are facing increasing legal threats due to confusion over how the ADA applies to websites, and CUNA has made it a top priority.
The court also expressly holds that a website is not a place of public accommodation, taking the approach that a place of public accommodation must be a brick-and-mortar location.
U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton decided to dismiss Carroll v. Northwest FCU after finding the plaintiff was not eligible to join the credit union, and therefore unable to suffer any harm or injury.
“This decision confirms what we’ve been saying all along - these suits are predatory and frivolous. But the work is not done: this case could be appealed. Other cases are pending. The regulatory requirements are not clear," said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. "CUNA has been leading the way to make sure this threat is resolved — working in Congress, at the Justice Department, providing compliance resources and engaging in legal advocacy — and we will continue to be engaged at every level in support of credit unions and their members.”
CUNA has undertaken several steps to find a solution for credit unions, including:
- Conducted a members-only webinar, recordings of which can be viewed for free;
- Launched an ADA advocacy page;
- Outlined concerns with the ADA lawsuits in several meetings with DOJ officials;
- Followed up with a letter highlighting those concerns;
- Backed a bill that would address these threats;
- Written to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees;
- Spearheaded efforts that resulted in 61 members of Congress raising ADA concerns in a letter to DOJ; and
- Scheduled a breakout session at this year’s CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference with the latest developments, scheduled for Monday, Feb. 26 from 2:45 to 4 p.m. (ET).