The Texas Bankers Association and the Independent Bankers Association of Texas reached a settlement in their lawsuit challenging demand letters sent to Texas banks alleging noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act’s online accessibility standards.
The settlement with the Access Now Inc. disability rights group releases IBAT and TBA members from all ADA claims related to the provision of electronic banking services. It also reaffirms members’ continuing commitment to accessibility for visually impaired persons through a non-binding Restatement of Voluntary Access Principles.
The associations’ lawsuit cited the state’s barratry laws, which are intended to protect Texas businesses and citizens from improper conduct by lawyers in soliciting new clients. In form letters to at least 12 Texas banks, out-of-state law firms had offered to settle their current client’s purported ADA claim if the recipient bank hired the firm as ADA compliance counsel.
In related news, ICBA recently updated its guidelines on how community banks can respond to unethical demand letters alleging their websites violate the ADA. The updated document includes additional guidance on how to respond following the Justice Department’s decision not to intervene in the letters from plaintiff’s attorneys, as requested by ICBA.