Senators Continue Push for ADA Website Clarity

A group of U.S. Senators followed up their September 2018 letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) Wednesday, continuing to urge the agency to take action to promote clarity, compliance and accessibility regarding how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to websites. Credit unions around the country have faced lawsuits due to the uncertainty. CUNA and the state leagues have been strong advocates for a solution in the legal, regulatory and Congressional arenas.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Crapo (R-ID) Joni Ernst (R-IA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) said in their letter sent this week that the DOJ has not cleared up any uncertainty.

“We therefore urge the Department of provide further clarity, especially given that the issue of whether the ADA applies to private websites at all—or the scope of such an application—continues to be subject to conflicting judicial opinions,” it reads. “Absent further guidance, compliance will remain a matter of increasing litigation and inconsistent outcomes. Regulation through litigation should not be the standard.”

CUNA will attend opening arguments in a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ADA lawsuit next week, one in which CUNA and the Michigan Credit Union League filed amicus briefs in support of two credit unions. 

In courts around the country, CUNA and the leagues have supported credit unions in frivolous lawsuits alleging ADA violations, and have secured two recent victories at the appellate level that provide binding precedent for those districts.

CUNA also reached out to Attorney General William Barr shortly after he was confirmed, and CUNA/League efforts also resulted in a letter from 103 members of Congress, and a separate one from 19 state attorneys general to the DOJ calling for clarity.

The NJCUL asked members of New Jersey’s Congressional delegation for support because several member credit unions had received demand letters.

In addition to Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9), then Rep’s Leonard Lance (R-7), Frank LoBiondo (R-2), Tom MacArthur (R-3) signed on to the letter. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12) added her name to a similar letter in October 2017.