CUs see another victory with frivolous ADA suit dismissal

February 23, 2018

A judge for the Eastern District Court of Virginia has dismissed a lawsuit against a credit union alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Friday. Credit unions are facing lawsuits as a result of ambiguities over how the ADA applies to website, and CUNA has made finding a solution a top priority.

“Another predatory lawsuit exploiting credit unions was thankfully dismissed, and we’re encouraged that the courts are starting to catch on to the frivolous nature of these suits,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “With unclear rules and cases like this all around the country, our work is far from over, but we’ll continue our engagement with Congress, the Department of Justice and other stakeholders to resolve this issue.”

Members of the MD|DC Credit Union Association were present at the case’s hearing last week. Judge T.S. Ellis III found that the plaintiff did not have standing to sue the credit unions, because he was not eligible for membership.

The opinion states, "plaintiff could not possibly allege intent to become a member of DOL FCU because the plaintiff is barred from membership. Thus, even if plaintiff had standing to pursue an ADA claim for damages, plaintiff has failed to allege facts plausibly supporting standing to pursue injunctive relief."

“This is a very positive step forward in trying to stem the flood of frivolous lawsuits. It is encouraging that the court recognized the merit of the case presented by Dept. of Labor FCU and Kaufman & Canoles. We will continue to support and defend our credit unions,” John Bratsakis, president/CEO of MD|DC Credit Union Association said.

A similar lawsuit against a Virginia credit union was thrown out in January, when a judge found that both the plaintiff lacked standing to sue and that websites are not places of public accommodation as spelled out in the ADA. The plaintiff has amended its complaint, and CUNA continue is following this litigation in the event that it moves to the appellate level.

CUNA and the Cornerstone Credit Union League filed an amicus brief in a Texas lawsuit earlier this week, and CUNA anticipates filing more in the coming days and weeks.

CUNA is also continuing its continues its engagement with the Department of Justice and Congress. Earlier this month, several members of Congress pledged to work with credit unions to find a solution.

While CUNA advocates for a solution, it has developed compliance resources designed to help credit unions ward