The Credit Union National Association and the League of Southeastern Credit Unions and Affiliates filed an amicus brief on behalf of The Infirmary Federal Credit Union in Mobile, Ala.
As lawsuits alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act affect hundreds of credit unions around the country, state and national trade associations have been active in combating them. Several suits have already been dismissed because the plaintiffs lacked legal standing.
Earlier this month, CUNA joined the Ohio Credit Union League in filing an amicus brief in an ADA lawsuit against $446 million Dover-Phila Federal Credit Union in Dover, Ohio.
A suit against $41 million BCM Federal Credit Union in Houston was thrown out eight days after CUNA and the Cornerstone Credit Union League filed a brief in support of the credit union.
In the case of The Infirmary, which has assets of $19 million, CUNA and the Southeastern league assert:
· The plaintiff lacks standing to file suit against the credit union;
· A website is not a place of public accommodation;
· Applying Title III of the ADA to websites renders the statute impermissibly vague in the absence of any implementing regulations by the Department of Justice; and
· The court should dismiss the complaint pursuant to the Primary Jurisdiction Doctrine.
“This brief was filed by CUNA and LSCU to continue our aggressive defense of credit unions hit with predatory lawsuits from plaintiffs’ attorneys looking to exploit a law that protects disabled Americans,” Jim Nussle, CUNA president and CEO, said in a press release. “Credit unions unfortunately continue to see a string of meritless lawsuits taking advantage of ambiguities about what is required for website accessibility. In our brief, CUNA once again highlights that credit unions need clarity beyond a private industry standard and deserve due process.”
Patrick LaPine, LSCU president and CEO, added in the release: “The league believes it is important to join with CUNA and our member credit unions in defending against predatory lawsuits filed under the guise of the Americans with Disabilities Act. While we seek clarity from the U.S. Department of Justice on website compliance with the ADA, we must not allow credit unions to be attacked using laws that are meant to truly protect disabled Americans.”