A lawsuit alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act on the part of Houston-based BCM Federal Credit Union was voluntarily dismissed with prejudice Thursday, the Credit Union National Association said.

CUNA and the Cornerstone Credit Union League together recently filed an amicus brief in support of the $41 million credit union’s motion to dismiss the case.

Credit unions have been hit with a slew of lawsuits relating to alleged website accessibility issues plaintiffs claim violates the ADA in recent months. In the past few weeks, CU trade associations and state leagues have been aggressively fighting back against what they call “predatory” and/or “frivolous” lawsuits, in several instances filing amicus briefs in support of the defendant credit unions.

On Wednesday, CUNA and the Illinois Credit Union League on Wednesday filed an amicus brief on behalf of $16 million Aurora Policeman CU, Aurora, Ill.

On Feb. 23, a federal district court in Virginia dismissed a lawsuit targeting Department of Labor Federal Credit Union. In that case, the court found the plaintiff did not have the standing to sue the credit union, as he was not eligible for membership and would not likely utilize the CU’s services.

Jim Nussle, president and CEO of CUNA, said the trade group has “engaged its 360-advocacy to find a solution in the legal, political and regulatory arenas.”

CUNA CEO Jim Nussle speaks at the 2017 PSCU Member Forum in Palm Desert, Calif.
CUNA CEO Jim Nussle, seen here speaking at the 2017 PSCU Member Forum in Palm Desert, Calif., is urging Iowa lawmakers to reject legislation that would tax the state's credit unions.

As for the BCM Federal Credit Union case: “We are glad to see that the plaintiff [on Thursday] voluntarily dismissed this frivolous federal lawsuit against BCM Federal Credit Union alleging website inaccessibility under the ADA, only days after CUNA and the Cornerstone Credit Union League weighed in supporting the credit union,” Nussle said in a statement. “This week more than 5,200 credit union leaders traveled to Washington, D.C. and highlighted the harm this meritless litigation is causing to their members, when the pooled resources of the membership are being extracted for plaintiffs’ attorneys.”

“We are proud to work with CUNA and Cornerstone to demonstrate that there is no basis to bring these lawsuits in federal court. These suits do not benefit the disabled and pose a threat to a variety of businesses throughout the United States,” said Michael Pryor, shareholder at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

“Today, Cornerstone’s aggressive response in the face of these predatory ADA lawsuits has paid off in a big way,” said Cornerstone Credit Union League President/CEO Caroline Willard.

Help now available in California, Nevada

In another ADA-lawsuit-related development Thursday, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues said credit unions in the Golden and Silver States that are wondering how to ensure their websites are compliant with the American With Disabilities Act now have a new resource.

To assist credit unions, PolicyWorks – a compliance firm owned by the Iowa Credit Union League and in which the California and Nevada CU Leagues have minority equity stakes in – has partnered with an Iowa company that can provide scans and consultation for credit unions related to ADA considerations.

“PolicyWorks can be the solution to ADA compliance problems,” said PolicyWorks Interim CEO Brian Godwin.

“This new service offered by PolicyWorks carries a lot of value for our member credit unions in that it provides not only an audit of their websites, but also consultants to help even a non-IT person understand how to make sites ADA compliant,” said Tonja Wheatley, vice president of Credit Union Solutions and Membership for the CCUL/NCUL.

According to PolicyWorks, CUs will be able to select from various packages, depending on the frequency of scans they would like. The company said options have been created to meet credit unions’ needs, as well as make them affordable for both smaller and larger CUs.

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