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Recent Case Law Provides Positive Momentum for Credit Union Defense in ADA Website Litigation
Friday, February 2, 2018 7:00 AM

Suzanne Yashewski, SVP Regulatory Compliance Counsel, Cornerstone Credit Union League

On Jan. 26, 2018, in the case of Keith Carroll v. Northwest Federal Credit Union, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia decided in favor of the credit union defendant by granting a motion to dismiss without prejudice. This is a positive development and can be used as persuasive support; however, the order does not bind courts in Texas, Oklahoma, or Arkansas.

In the case, the court stated that because the plaintiff was not eligible for the credit union’s field of membership, he could not show any injury, and therefore lacked standing to sue. The court also stated that the plaintiff’s claims failed because a website is not a place of public accommodation.

Unfortunately the matter is not resolved, as counsel for the plaintiff filed an amended complaint on Jan. 30. In this document, plaintiff’s counsel argues that the plaintiff is eligible for membership at the credit union because the FOM includes “partner organizations” such as the Special Olympics. The credit union’s website permits persons to join the partner organizations at the same time the person completes the credit union membership application. The plaintiff allegedly intends to volunteer at a future Special Olympics event, and therefore argues that he is within the FOM.

Cornerstone will keep credit unions updated on developments in this important case.