LANSING, Mich.—The Michigan Credit Union League has filed an amicus brief in Federal Court supporting American 1 Credit Union as it combats a “frivolous” lawsuit alleging non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the league stated.
Specifically, MCUL’s brief is in support of a motion to dismiss that was filed by attorney and counselor Michael M. Bell of the law firm Howard & Howard.
In the absence of controlling rules by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the lawsuit is the latest in a series brought by trial attorneys seeking judicial interpretation of the ADA as it applies to website accessibility. Seeking to exploit credit unions and other community-based organizations, the recent spike in lawsuits rely on questionable facts and far-reaching assumptions of law, the league stated.
“It’s unfortunate that in the absence of regulatory guidance, credit unions are forced to expend valuable time and resources defending themselves from frivolous lawsuits,” said Ken Ross, president/COO of the Michigan Credit Union League. “Every dollar spent on lawyers — every minute spent not helping members — is a barrier put in front of well-meaning, community-focused, not-for profit institutions. I call on the DOJ to address this issue head on and to provide credit unions across the nation with much needed clarity.”
At the time of this filing, more than 20 Michigan credit unions have received demand letters from a single law firm alleging similar issues.
“As the voice of the Michigan credit union community, MCUL stands ready to defend against this troublesome trend of meritless lawsuits,” Ross continued. “Credit unions continue to do their best with ADA compliance in an uncertain environment.”
Howard & Howard’s Bell told CUToday.info that taking an aggressive defense to these lawsuits is important.
“We believe the law is on our side and CUs should resist the urge to capitulate and stand up for their members and the movement as a whole,” Bell said.
CUToday.info has extensively reported on the rash of ADA lawsuits hitting credit unions. Last week CUToday.info reported how State Highway Patrol FCU in Columbus, Ohio, is fighting an ADA lawsuit.