April 17, 2018

NAFCU-assisted CU sees 2nd win in ADA case

gavelFor the second time, a federal district court in Virginia dismissed a lawsuit against Northwest Federal Credit Union over unclear website requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This was an amended complaint; the court dismissed the case in January as it determined that the plaintiff to such a lawsuit did not have standing as he was not eligible for membership and would likely not use the credit union's services.

NAFCU filed two amicus briefs in support of Northwest's motion to dismiss, for both the original and amended complaint.

"NAFCU is pleased to see this court continue to recognize that this plaintiff has no standing to sue Northwest Federal Credit Union, similar to the numerous other cases we've seen dismissed in recent months," said NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger. "NAFCU will continue to defend our members against these meritless lawsuits."

The court determined that the plaintiff still lacked standing to bring the lawsuit and the amended complaint did not address issues within the original one. In addition, the court reiterated its opinion that a website is not a place of public accommodation, thus certain ADA protections were not triggered.

Credit unions, banks and other entities have faced a rash of lawsuits in the past year related to website accessibility. NAFCU and its members strongly support the protections of the ADA and efforts to ensure individuals with disabilities are not discriminated against and have equal access to financial services. However, this is best achieved through clear guidance and standards for website compliance, not through meritless and costly lawsuits.

NAFCU has been active on ADA, engaging with various stakeholders on this issue, including with Congress, states' attorneys general and the Justice Department to clarify regulatory standards for websites.

Resources for dealing with the ADA issue can be found here.