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Credit Unions Targeted for ADA Web Accessibility Lawsuits in 2018

Dave Gibson

Financial institutions, and in particular, credit unions seem to be especially targeted in this ongoing onslaught of ADA web accessibility lawsuits and demand letters across the country. It seems the press is a bit preoccupied with daily shiny trinkets, and this issue continues to fall to the back pages. Luckily industry trade groups are stepping in to inform and advise their members. It appears that the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) are doing a great job of providing resources and doing what they can to guide and protect their members.

In NFACU's case, they list ADA WEBSITE LITIGATION at the top of their 2018 priorities list and provide a dedicated ADA Website Litigation webpage with background to the issue, current legal case info, resources, and an FAQ which starts by answering "Why are credit unions being targeted in ADA website litigation?"

CUNA is also taking web accessibility and ADA legal threats seriously. They have their own ADA Website Accessibility Resources page with news and resources.

The industry has seen two recent wins. In both cases the judge tossed the cases based on the plaintiff's lack of qualifications for membership to the credit union in question.

  1. On Jan 26, 2018 the same court dismissed Carroll v Northwest Federal Credit Union which serves employees of the CIA. Here the plaintiff failed to show injury or harm due to the fact that he had never worked at the CIA and was unqualified for membership.
  2. Similarly on Feb 21, 2018 the same court in Virginia tossed Griffin v Department of Labor Federal Credit Union because the plaintiff was not a member of the Department of Labor.

So credit unions have two new decisions to lean on when defending such cases. That said, website accessibility is something that all credit unions need to quickly work toward and achieve. Not only will these cases not subside, but they owe it to their members with disabilities to provide universal access to their websites.