CUs see victory with dismissal of appellate level ADA suit

The Fourth Circuit of Appeals ruled in favor of Department of Labor Federal Credit Union (DOL FCU) related to a frivolous lawsuit alleging website noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A panel of federal appeals court judges determined the plaintiff lacked standing on Jan. 3.

CUNA stood alongside DOL FCU and filed an amicus brief in support of the credit union last year. This landmark decision would provide binding legal precedent in states under the Fourth Circuit’s jurisdiction.

“The court’s decision is a major step forward in our defense of credit unions facing predatory lawsuits exploiting a law designed to protect disabled Americans,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “While this is an encouraging victory in the court system, one that creates binding precedent throughout the Fourth Circuit, CUNA will continue its work in the legislative and regulatory arenas, as well as in other court cases, to ensure credit unions can continue to serve their members without threat of frivolous legal action due to uncertainty with the ADA.

Griffin v. DOL FCU is especially significant because it is the first CU-specific ADA case to be decided at the appellate level. A judge in the Eastern District of Virginia dismissed the lawsuit in February, leading to the current appeal.

CUNA has pushed the Department of Justice to clarify this issue, and its efforts have led numerous legislators from the House and Senate to write to the DOJ calling for a solution. State credit union league also coordinated a letter to the DOJ from 19 state attorneys general, also calling for clarity.