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CUNA files briefs in ADA cases in Ohio, Texas

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Despite several recent legal wins by credit unions, plaintiffs’ firms continue to file lawsuits claiming violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act – leading the Credit Union National Association to file amicus briefs in cases involving CUs in Ohio and Texas.

CUNA said credit unions are facing “predatory” lawsuits due to uncertainty about how the ADA applies to websites. The trade group has been aggressive in its defense of credit unions hit with such suits, in many cases filing amicus briefs asserting affirmative defenses rebutting the allegations contained in the lawsuits.

In the two most recent actions, CUNA, along with the Ohio Credit Union League, filed a brief in the Southern District of Ohio in Mitchell v. BMI FCU, and with the Cornerstone Credit Union League in the Southern District of Texas in Thurston v. KBR Heritage FCU.

The former involves $479 million BMI Federal Credit Union in Dublin, Ohio, the latter is re: $93 million KBR Heritage Federal Credit Union, which is headquartered in Houston.

Jim Nussle, CUNA’s president and CEO, said the association has been working to find “permanent solutions” for credit unions facing such suits.

“As we work with Congress and the Department of Justice, filing briefs with our state leagues will help make an impact in the legal arena,” Nussle said in a statement.

CUNA noted it has joined with various state leagues to file briefs in two Alabama cases, one in Illinois, as well as additional cases in Texas and Ohio – in all cases seeking to support credit unions in those states. One earlier Texas case was dismissed shortly after CUNA and the Cornerstone League filed their brief, CUNA added.

The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions likewise has been busy defending its member credit unions, including one in Pennsylvania.

As Credit Union Journal has reported, many financial institutions are an easy target for ADA suits, some plaintiffs’ lawyers have had to shift tactics after a number of cases were dismissed due to a lack of standing.

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