CUNA, CUs achieve victory with dismissal of appellate level ADA suit

January 3, 2019

CUNA and credit unions achieved a major win Thursday when the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of DOL FCU, a credit union hit with a frivolous lawsuit claiming violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). CUNA filed a brief in support of DOL FCU.

“The court’s decision is a major step forward in our defense of credit unions facing predatory lawsuits exploiting a law designed to protect disabled Americans,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “While this is an encouraging victory in the court system, one that creates binding precedent throughout the Fourth Circuit, CUNA will continue its work in the legislative and regulatory arenas, as well as other court cases, to ensure credit unions can continue to serve their members without threat of frivolous legal action due to uncertainty with the ADA.

The court ruled that the plaintiff is not allowed to sue under the ADA, since the plaintiff “barred by law from making use of defendant’s services.”

This lawsuit is one of several similar suits around the country alleging website noncompliance with the ADA. However, the ADA does not contain specific website accessibility guidelines.

CUNA has pushed the Department of Justice to clarify this issue, and its efforts have led numerous legislators from the House and Senate to write to the DOJ calling for a solution. State credit union leagues also coordinated a letter to the DOJ from 19 state attorneys general, also calling for clarity.