Removing Barriers Blog

CUNA Urges Congress to Curb Litigation Abuse Under the ADA

Yesterday, CUNA sent a letter to Representatives Ted Poe, Scott Peters, Ami Bera, Ken Calvert, Jackie Speier, and Mike Conway in support of legislation they introduced to address litigation abuse under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) – H.R. 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017. 

In the letter, CUNA urged the legislators to consider how credit unions are being impacted by frivolous ADA related litigation including a recent rise in the number of demand letters surrounding website accessibility.  

CUNA’s support for the bill comes as it pursues guidance relating to the ADA’s application to websites, which has led to lawsuits against many credit unions because of ambiguities surrounding compliance.  

The letter notes that as an example of this abuse, over the past few months credit unions have seen a drastic rise of demand letters threatening class action litigation for website accessibility and compliance with the ADA.  These shakedowns are harming credit unions and their members and are making it difficult for credit unions to serve all members including those who are protected by the ADA.  Perversely, the threats of litigation are having the exact opposite effect of increasing the ability to provide services to all members.   

CUNA also highlights that H.R. 620 will ensure those protected by the ADA will continue to benefit from that important protection, but will take the right steps to curb predatory litigation that harms all consumers and credit union members. While this legislation focuses on architectural barriers, we encouraged the Members of Congress to expand this proposal to include other frivolous ADA related class action litigation including website accessibility. 

CUNA and state Leagues are working closely with Members of Congress to urge the Department of Justice to address this issue by providing clear compliance standards for websites. The DOJ began the process of developing regulations to address this issue in 2010, with an advance notice of proposed rulemaking.  However, the DOJ never completed the rulemaking process and recently declared this effort “inactive”.   

CUNA will continue to advocate on behalf of America’s credit unions to ensure they’re able to conduct their business and comply with the laws and regulations without the undue threat of frivolous class action litigation.