Another Appeals Court Rules in Favor of CUs in Frivolous ADA Suit

CUNA, Leagues and credit unions achieved their third victory at the appellate level Tuesday as the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a frivolous lawsuit alleging website noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). CUNA and the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) filed an amicus brief in support of the two credit unions in the lawsuit, Aeroquip CU and Belle River Community CU.

Credit unions around the country have been hit with similar suits alleging violations of the ADA, however the statute does not contain specific website accessibility guidelines.

“We’re grateful that another appellate-level court has dismissed this latest lawsuit designed to exploit a law that protects disabled Americans,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “These outcomes in the courts are encouraging, and CUNA will continue its engagement with policymakers and regulators to secure much-needed clarity on how credit unions can protect themselves from similar legal actions while ensuring website accessibility.”

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of an Illinois credit union in July, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals made a similar ruling in January. These decisions set precedent in their respective circuits.

“We are thrilled that the Sixth Circuit has now joined with the Fourth and Seventh Circuit this morning when it reversed a Michigan federal court’s refusal to dismiss two cases brought by the same plaintiff,” said MCUL President/CEO Dave Adams. “MCUL, along with CUNA, worked to help Aeroquip and Belle River Community Credit Unions when it was clear that the plaintiff had brought lawsuits without any legal merit. We are committed to working to support credit unions from baseless claims by plaintiff law firms seeking to harass and make money on cases that lack any support in law or fact. We see this decision as a victory for Michigan credit unions as well as all credit unions nationally.”

CUNA attended arguments in the case in Cincinnati earlier this month with the Ohio Credit Union League.

CUNA/League-system efforts to find a solution include meetings and communications with the Department of Justice and CUNA/League engagement with policymakers resulting in both members of the House and Senate, as well as 19 state attorneys general, writing to the Department of Justice calling for a solution.