ABA, State Associations Continue Focus on ADA Website Issues

Over the last month, the American Bankers Association has been working with state bankers associations to inform members of Congress about the demand letters that plaintiffs’ firms have sent to banks asserting that the bank’s website is not accessible to speech and hearing impaired customers as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. In particular, state associations in Iowa, Louisiana, North Carolina, Utah and Virginia have sent letters to key members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.

Under the former administration, the Department of Justice took the position that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to websites but has delayed initiating a formal rulemaking under Title III until 2018, leaving businesses without standards on how to comply. In an effort to clarify whether ADA applies to websites and follow up on the letters sent by the state bankers associations, ABA this month met with House and Senate Judiciary Committee staff to urge members of the committees to engage on the issue.

These efforts coincide with the first rulings against plaintiffs alleging businesses’ websites are inaccessible. Specifically, on March 20, U.S. District Court Judge James Otero granted Domino’s Pizza’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a visually impaired plaintiff in the Central District of California. The court held that requiring Domino’s to provide an accessible website in the absence of a clear regulation would violate the company’s due process rights. For more information, contact ABA’s Toni Cannady.