January 16, 2018

NAFCU publishes FAQ on ADA to help CUs targeted by lawsuits

NAFCU published a new FAQ document to help association members and nonmembers with concerns about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and website accessibility. The document explains why credit unions are being targeted with legal action and what NAFCU is doing to help, among other useful information.

Credit unions can download the FAQ from a message sent by NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger yesterday or by clicking here.

The document includes questions and answers on strategic options under consideration, which credit unions are being targeted by plaintiffs' attorneys and how credit unions are responding to demand letters regarding their website compliance with the ADA.

NAFCU has myriad resources available online that can help credit unions better understand and manage recent litigation risk related to the ADA. Last week, Berger provided an update to members on NAFCU's efforts thus far to put an end to meritless lawsuits concerning website accessibility under the ADA, obtain clear guidance on the issue and help those credit unions currently facing litigation.

Currently, NAFCU is supporting three Virginia credit unions' motions to dismiss complaints filed against them in federal district court; it has filed amicus briefs in all three cases. So far, the judges in two of the three cases have accepted NAFCU's briefs and NAFCU stood with one credit union as a court held hearings on the credit union's motion.

The association also has available a webcast – "Must a Credit Union Website be ADA Compliant?" –offering credit unions legal insight into ADA compliance.

On the regulatory front, NAFCU sent a letter in November to the U.S. Attorney General asking that the Justice Department consider issuing guidance or an interim final rule that would provide clarity in the area of website accessibility under the ADA. Last month, NAFCU wrote to the National Association of Attorneys General to look into the issue. Also last month, the Justice Department rescinded past rulemaking documents on this issue and said it intends to further evaluate whether a rule is necessary; Berger said this could be a potential starting point for action.

On the legislative side, NAFCU supports the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620) and is actively working to expand the bill's protections to cover website-related lawsuits. NAFCU also sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on the impact of lawsuit abuse on small businesses, requesting that committee leaders take steps to curb the rise in frivolous ADA lawsuits. A separate letter urges the House Judiciary Committee to address this important issue.

Many other credit union resources, including best practices from in-house compliance and legal experts, as well as monthly publications to help member credit unions identify the risks involved so they can make informed business decisions, are available through this NAFCU landing page.