Fri, Feb 2, 2018
Since a case alleging Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations by a credit union was thrown out last week, the plaintiff has amended his original complaint. The suit was dismissed without prejudice last Friday, and is an important step forward for credit unions facing increasing legal threats due to uncertainty over how the ADA applies to Web sites.
Judge Claude Hilton found that the plaintiff in this case, a serial filer who has filed suit against a significant number of credit unions, did not have standing because he did not qualify for membership in the defendant credit union.
The Court stated: “Defendant cannot make this showing because he has not established that is entitled, or would ever be entitled, to utilize any services provided by Northwest FCU.” So, while the website is open to the public, the services it provides are not.
The court also expressly holds that a website is not a place of public accommodation.
The plaintiff’s amending of the original complaint attempts to make additional arguments concerning standing. Specifically, they attempt to argue that they have standing because the field of membership extends to those participating in the Special Olympics.
The MD|DC Credit Union Association has been actively working to help credit unions with the growing ADA website issue. MD|DC CUA has written letters to the attorneys general for Maryland and Washington, D.C. to make them aware of the issue and ask for assistance in a resolution. The Association's Advocacy Team continues to advance the issue in meetings with our Congressional delegation. In November, more than 200 attended a webinar, hosted by the Association and Kaufman & Canoles, providing guidance on ADA website compliance. In fact, Kaufman & Canoles provided legal representation to Northwest FCU in its ADA compliance case.