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Client Alert: Banks Face Continued Threat of ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuits

New Wave of Demand Letters Aimed at Community Banks
January 4, 2017

Action Items for Litigation Risk Mitigation

  • Immediately audit your website to identify any access barriers based on the WCAG 2.0 standard.
  • Take action to address any WCAG-based access barriers.
  • Ensure that any WCAG-based access barriers are corrected on a going-forward basis.
  • Do not wait until you receive a demand letter to take action.
  • Engage qualified outside counsel to help with these efforts, especially if you receive a demand letter.

Threatened Lawsuits Against Banks Regarding Website Accessibility Under the ADA

On September 30, 2016, our Financial Institutions Group issued a Client Alert regarding the surge in recent years of actual and threatened litigation against various entities, including banks, relating to whether the targeted entities' websites contain "access barriers" for disabled persons that render them unlawful under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). A copy of that Client Alert is available here.

The wave of threatened litigation continues. Banks of all sizes have recently received demand letters from certain of the plaintiffs' firms that appear to be spearheading this effort. The plaintiffs' firms appear to be in the process of sending out a new wave of demand letters, including to many smaller community banks.

The strength of certain of your defenses may depend on how proactive the bank has been about addressing any accessibility issues arguably affecting its website. For that reason, we strongly encourage you to take immediate action to identify and address any "access barriers" affecting the website. Do not wait until you receive a demand letter from one of the plaintiffs' firms to take such action.

We Can Help You

Attorneys in the Financial Institutions Group are available to help you understand the litigation risks presented by the threatened ADA website accessibility lawsuits, as well as to help you address any access barriers affecting your website in order to mitigate the litigation risks. One of our litigation partners, Rachael Trummel, who regularly defends banks in lawsuits and other proceedings around the country, recently conducted a webinar on this topic.

Please call us if you would like to discuss any of these issues or if we can otherwise be of assistance.

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