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Does Your Bank’s Website Invite ADA Lawsuits? 

by Brian Malcom

Published: May, 2018

Submission: May, 2018

 



Does your bank have a website? Unless your bank uses an abacus to tally deposits, the answer is probably yes. If so, do you know if your bank’s website complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”)? Did you even know that your website might be subject to scrutiny under the ADA? Let’s discuss.


Did you even know that your website might be subject to scrutiny under the ADA? Let’s discuss. The ADA entitles individuals with a disability to “full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of any place of public accommodation.” 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a). There is some debate over whether a website is “a place of public accommodation” within the meaning of the ADA, but there is enough disagreement to enable the plaintiffs’ bar to latch on to these claims. Litigation against banks relating to the ADA is not a new thing. In the past, plaintiff's attorneys brought suits against banks alleging lack of physical accessibility in branches and, more recently, challenged the accessibility of ATM machines. Now, plaintiff’s attorneys are targeting banks and other financial institutions with ADA lawsuits alleging that the target’s website lacks accessibility for their disabled clients. In 2000, Bank of America settled a web-accessibility suit. Charles Schwab also settled an ADA suit a short time later. In 2008, Target paid a total of nearly $10 million to settle a class-action suit brought by the National Federation for the Blind. By the middle of 2017, more than 240 businesses had faced a lawsuit in federal court relating to website accessibility


 


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