Community banks, other businesses face unsubstantiated claims from plaintiff law firms
Washington, D.C (June 20, 2018)—The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) today expressed support for a congressional letter to the Justice Department requesting clarity on website accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The letter from 103 members of Congress led by Reps. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and Lou Correa (D-Calif.) encourages the Justice Department to issue guidance that will address unresolved questions about the ADA and restrict the rising number of unsubstantiated demand letters and lawsuits from private plaintiffs.
“Community banks across the country have been the subject of demand letters and lawsuits from plaintiff law firms alleging unsubstantiated violations of Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility requirements for electronic banking services,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. “ICBA strongly supports this congressional effort to facilitate Justice Department guidance that will provide needed clarity to community banks and other businesses and stem the rapid growth in baseless demand letters and lawsuits.”
The congressional letter notes that businesses of all sizes face a rising threat of private legal action designed to reach financial settlements for plaintiff law firms. As noted by Reps. Budd and Correa, website accessibility demand letters and lawsuits rose from 57 in 2015 to 814 last year—a 1,328 percent increase. The letter calls for the Justice Department to issue guidance that these actions violate due process principles while Congress works to provide greater ADA clarity through legislation.
ICBA has called on the Justice Department to issue guidelines to provide community banks and other small businesses a safe harbor against unsubstantiated claims from plaintiff law firms. ICBA looks forward to continuing to work with Congress and the Justice Department on this important issue.
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for nearly 5,700 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.