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Cornerstone Writes AG Sessions in Support of ADA Clarification Request
Tuesday, July 10, 2018 7:00 AM

Yesterday, Cornerstone Credit Union League wrote to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in support of the June 20 letter, signed by more than 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, to the Department of Justice requesting guidance and clarification in regard to website accessibility under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The letter, authored by Cornerstone President/CEO Caroline Willard, notes that neither Congress nor the DOJ has addressed the issue of whether or not the ADA applies to websites, and if it does, how one should comply to provide an accommodation.

"In the absence of a legal standard, businesses of all sizes are being threatened with legal action by private plaintiffs for unsubstantiated violations of the ADA," Willard writes. "Credit unions across the country are being presented with demand letters and/or sued by one particular California law firm representing a California resident plaintiff with no connection to the credit unions located outside California.

"These cases are not being brought to provide the CA resident with better access to a website, which would be the spirit of the ADA. Instead, they are being used as a front to intimidate credit unions into settling, profiting the lawyers with no benefit to the plaintiff. Credit unions have had cases thrown out for lack of standing in Virginia, Ohio, and Alabama. In other states such as Texas, if the credit union doesn't settle, the plaintiff's law firm has routinely voluntarily dismissed the case with prejudice before a court can rule on the matter."

The letter closes with the expressed hope that Congress will speak to clarify its intent regarding ADA application to websites. "Until then, it is vital that the DOJ state publicly that private legal action under the ADA with respect to websites is unfair and violates basic due process principles in the absence of clear statutory authority and issuance by the DOJ of a final rule establishing website accessibility standards," the letter reads.

View the letter in its entirety.