Client Alert: Recent Developments Regarding ADA Website Accessibility Claims
- Mitigate continuing litigation risk by improving website accessibility and developing website accessibility policy.
- Contact experienced counsel if your institution receives a demand letter or other threat of litigation relating to website accessibility.
- Monitor regulatory, legislative and judicial developments regarding website accessibility.
Client Alerts on ADA Website Accessibility
On September 30, 2016, our Financial Institutions Group issued a Client Alert regarding the wave of threatened litigation against various entities, including banks and other financial institutions, regarding the accessibility of their websites. In particular, the plaintiffs claimed the targeted entity's website was not sufficiently accessible to visually impaired persons and, thus, potentially violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). A copy of that Client Alert is available here, and a subsequent update regarding the continued threat of such litigation is available here.
Withdrawal of Demand Letters
We are pleased to report a positive recent development. In June 2017, our Financial Institutions Group was engaged by the Illinois Bankers Association (IBA) to assist it in resisting and disposing of these threatened lawsuits against its members. With our help, on June 9, 2017, the IBA issued a demand letter of its own to the two plaintiffs' firms that had been targeting IBA member institutions – specifically, the Carlson Lynch firm and the KamberLaw firm. In its letter, the IBA set forth several arguments challenging both the propriety of the plaintiffs' firms' conduct and the substantive merits of their position. On that basis, the IBA demanded those firms withdraw the demand letters they had issued to IBA members and cease any related action against those institutions unless and until a technical standard relating to website accessibility is enacted. On June 23, 2017, both firms acceded to the IBA's demand and withdrew their demand letters to the IBA member institutions.
We Can Help You
Although we are pleased the demand letters were withdrawn in response to the IBA's letter, we emphasize that website accessibility-related claims present continuing litigation risk, whether from renewed action by the Carlson Lynch and/or KamberLaw firms or new action by some other plaintiffs' firm. We can help you evaluate the continuing litigation risk, as well as mitigate that risk by addressing any accessibility issues that may affect your institution's public website. One of our litigation partners, Rachael Trummel, has been heavily involved in these matters and has spoken about this topic on multiple occasions.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or if we can otherwise be of assistance.