It was only a matter of time until this happened. A Federal District Court in Michigan held that a blind person has the right to sue a credit union she claims has an inaccessible website even though she is not eligible for membership. The court refused to dismiss the lawsuit, by doing so, ruled that all credit unions could potentially be found to violate the Americans with Disability Act if their website is not ADA compliant.
Karla Brintley, the plaintiff, does not qualify for membership at Belle River Community Credit Union. This fact meant nothing to the court, as it ruled that she could prove she was harmed. “Because of these barriers, the Plaintiff has been denied the ability to effectively browse for Defendant’s services and locations, determine eligibility for membership, and compare Defendant’s services and advantages with its competitors.”
The court determined that websites are subject to the ADA’s accessibility requirements whenever there is a connection between a website and the services being provided by the physical location. The court held so long as the website provides information on products, services and locations that could be obtained at the physical branch, this standard could be satisfied.
This reverses the trend of outcomes in Virginia, where Federal Courts have dismissed a slew of lawsuits due to inaccessible websites. This is no surprise, especially in Michigan, where the courts take accessibility very seriously.
The solution is very simple. It is faster, easier, less expensive in both actual monetary cost and potential reputational damage to simply fix the problem. These attorneys are not going anywhere. Credit Unions need to address the issue now, because if they don’t, they will most certainly have to address it later and at a much higher cost.
CEO and Founder
CEO and Founder
While in Seattle, stop by OMNICOMMANDER's booth and see how they can help you with your website.