PHILADELPHIA – In another new flurry of suits, a blind Delaware man sued American Heritage FCU in federal court yesterday, claiming the Philadelphia credit union is in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act because its ATMs are not all fully accessible for the visually impaired.

The suit is the ninth ADA suit filed by Darryl Garner over the past month, and comes as a Texas woman, Victoria Gilkerson, has filed suit against 19 credit unions and banks over the ADA, and a Pittsburgh man named Robert Jahoda has filed 10 ADA suits against credit unions and banks.

All three plaintiffs are represented by Pittsburgh tort attorney R. Bruce Carlson.

The new spate of suits comes as Congress is poised to pass a new law aimed at suits over the Electronic Funds Transfer Act by eliminating one of two required disclosures of fees charged to non-customers of a bank or credit union owner.

According to his suit, Garner lost his vision in 2009, after contracting diabetic retinopathy resulting from long-term diabetes. He regularly has occasion to use ATMs in the Philadelphia area, where he has family. Garner alleges he has found a number of ATMs to be deficient in the ADA, whose visually impaired provisions went into effect March 10.

He also has sued Royal Bank of America, VIST Bank, Wilmington Savings Fund Society, Polonia Bank, Woorie America Bank, FirstTrust Savings Bank, University Bank and Trust, and Beneficial Mutual Savings Bank, all in federal court in Philadelphia.

“As is the case nationally,” said Garner in his suit, “a significant percentage of the ATMs throughout Pennsylvania continue to violate accessibility requirements mandated by federal law. Many inaccessible ATMs are located within the geographic zone that Plaintiff typically travels as part of his everyday and weekly activities. This shortage of accessible ATMs severely limits the ability of Plaintiff and other blind and visually impaired individuals to benefit from the banking services made available to the American consumer public through ATMs.”

 

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