ABA Reports Possible New Round of ADA Accessibility Lawsuits

The American Bar Association (ABA) reported in its June 2014 Journal that a new round of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuits is being seen. The Pittsburgh-based law firm Carlson Lynch is behind the new wave of lawsuits.

The firm filed more the 100 class-action lawsuits in 2012. Those cases were filed under Title III of the ADA, against financial institutions, claiming those institutions’ ATMs were inaccessible for visually impaired people.

The ABA reports the latest round of about 12 lawsuits alleges that financial institutions are physically inaccessible for individuals using wheelchairs.

The new lawsuits center on physical features of the financial institutions’ branches such as counter height, inaccessible parking lots, obstructed accessible routes, and handicap signs hung too low. The parking lot complaints focus primarily on van accessibility, the space around the spot to allow for a motorized lift, and the slope of the parking lot.

If the law firm follows the strategy it used during the 2012 ATM class action cases, there may be other similar, if not identical, class-action suits across the country.

Credit unions may wish to review the ADA accessibility guidelines (7.4200 and 7.4300) to ensure they are meeting the requirements.

Compliance Question of the Week

If a minor has a savings account with no joint owner and the account is in the negative, can we pursue collection against the minor?

Yes, you can pursue collection against the minor. Both Oregon and Washington state regulations give financial institutions the right to enter into a valid and enforceable contact of deposit with a minor.

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Questions? Contact the Compliance Hotline: 1.800.546.4465, compliance@nwcua.org.

Posted in Compliance, NCUA.