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News Now

CU System
ADA Lawsuits Filed Vs. FIs In Tennessee
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (8/8/13)--Seven more lawsuits alleging that inaccessible ATMs violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) have been filed against financial institutions, including a credit union, this time in Tennessee.
 
Susan Welchly of Tennessee and Ashley Summers of Alabama, who are both legally blind, filed the suits simultaneously in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, in Nashville. They are represented by Gilbert Russell McWherter PLC, a law firm in Jackson, Tenn., with offices in Nashville.
 
The suits alleged that the ATMs do not have features mandated by the ADA for visually impaired individuals, and that the machines lacked braille keyboards or voice guidance. They asked the court to force the institutions to comply and to pay for court costs.
 
The suits are against five banks and a credit union (TheCityPaper.com Aug. 6).
 
Similar suits were filed Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia within the past 15 months. One man in Philadelphia filed suit against seven financial institutions, citing ADA violations (News Now June 20, 2012). 
 
Mondaq Business Briefing (Aug. 7) estimated that there are at least 100 similar pending class actions across the country.
 
Earlier this year the Credit Union National Association warned credit unions that an ATM accessibility lawsuit filed in Atlanta by a blind woman who alleged lack of access to the machine under the ADA could be the beginning of  a trend of plaintiffs' lawyers seeking out ADA violators.
 
CUNA noted that like the numerous nuisance lawsuits filed against financial institutions claiming that missing ATM fee notices violated the Electronic Funds Transfer Act,  the next trend could be ADA class action lawsuits (News Now March 14).  CUNA recommended that credit unions check their compliance with ADA regulations concerning ATMs.
 
The Wall Street Journal  estimated last year that at least half of the nation's ATMs remain inaccessible to the visually handicapped (March 7, 2012).


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