In a letter from CUNA head Jim Nussle, he reinforced that CUNA continues to remain engaged in combatting the predatory class action threats related to website accessibility requirements surrounding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Nussle says: “I want to provide an update, since my last communication (copy of email is below), on the status of our work combatting this frivolous litigation that increased significantly last year. We remain seriously concerned about the impact this predatory litigation is having on credit unions ability to serve their members with safe and affordable products and services.
“We continue to hear from credit unions across the country that they are being threatened with litigation from a handful of plaintiffs’ law firms seeking to profit from the ambiguities in requirements for website accessibility. I wanted to caution you that while many of these threats come from the Pacific Trial Attorneys, based in Newport Beach, CA, in recent weeks credit unions have also received demand letters from ‘copycat’ law firms.
“CUNA has been working diligently to combat this predatory litigation. Since it continues to be a major problem for credit unions, it is a top advocacy priority for us, as we continue engagement with the DOJ and Congress. Late last year, I met with Assistant Attorney General John Gore, who oversees the Civil Rights Division at the DOJ, to highlight credit union concerns and to urge the DOJ to address the frivolous litigation surrounding website accessibility. In addition, 61 members of Congress signed a letter to DOJ, at our urging, detailing the harm credit unions are facing from these threats.
“Notably, recently the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it has rescinded two Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemakings (ANPRM) related to website accessibility under Title II of the ADA applicable to state and local governments and under Title III applicable to private businesses open to the public.
“CUNA published a blog with our initial thoughts on this action. However, I want to point out that DOJ’s actions to withdraw its ANPR in many instances does not shed further clarity on the judicial precedent that has been created for what are expected requirements for website accessibility, or what plaintiffs’ firms have relied on as de facto requirements. As such, credit unions should continue to review CUNA’s compliance resources for website accessibility until further clarity is provided.
“We are also working closely with leagues and other groups to identify legal advocacy opportunities. We will be meeting with the senior counsel of the House Judiciary Committee next week to again discuss how we can stop these threats.”
CUNA will conduct a breakout session at the Governmental Affairs Conference to help credit unions understand possible steps they can take to avoid these lawsuits on Monday, Feb. 26 from 2:45 p.m. to 4 p.m.
For your reference, here are links to several CUNA blog posts with updates about our advocacy efforts and compliance resources:
- Efforts Continue (Dec. 21, 201)
- Senate Hearing (Nov. 9, 2017)
- Letter DOJ(Nov. 10, 2017)
- Letter to Congress (Oct. 17, 2017)
- WCAG 2.0 – A, AA or AAA (11/3/17)
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (10/16/17)
- ADA Accessibility: Common Problems & Solutions (2/8/17)
Read a related article from LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine here.