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Appeals court dismisses ADA website suit against credit union

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The industry received a legal victory Thursday when a federal court dismissed a lawsuit against a credit union involving claims related to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The $90 million-asset Department of Labor Federal Credit Union in Washington, D.C., had been sued by a plaintiff alleging the institution’s website was not compliant with the ADA. Over the past year, a number of credit unions across the country have received a demand letter threatening litigation or have been sued for alleged non-compliance with the ADA.

A panel of judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit determined that the plaintiff lacked standing. A judge in the Eastern District of Virginia dismissed the original lawsuit in February, which led to this appeal.

Both the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions and the Credit Union National Association filed amicus briefs in support of DOLFCU. The two trade associations have been engaged in the ADA lawsuit issue for several months, filing numerous amicus briefs and attempting to work with Congress and the Department of Justice to enact a legislative or regulatory solution.

“This is an important decision for credit unions – it is the first dismissal at the appellate level, which is likely to set a heavier precedent than those we have already seen from lower court cases,” Carrie Hunt, NAFCU's executive vice president of government affairs and general counsel, said in a statement. “NAFCU will continue to support credit unions facing these meritless lawsuits and work with the Justice Department to get clear guidance on the issue.”

Department of Labor Federal Credit Union was chartered in 1942 and has roughly 6,800 members, according to the National Credit Union Administration.

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