Office of the Attorney General (Image: Shutterstock).

Having failed so far to convince the Justice Department to issue guidance that would ward off attorneys threatening to sue credit unions under the Americans With Disabilities Act, CUNA is now appealing to Attorney General William Barr, who was sworn in just last week.

“As of February 2019, lawsuits have been filed against credit unions in about 30 states with some suits being dismissed for lack of standing or other legal defects,” CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle said, in a letter to Barr on Tuesday. “These shakedowns are harming credit unions and their members and negatively impacting credit unions’ ability to serve their communities.”

Nussle said demand letters threatening ADA lawsuits are often sent by a single law firm thousands of miles away from the credit union and on behalf of someone ineligible to join the credit union.

“The goal of these threats is not justice or increasing accessibility for persons who are disabled, but to get a quick payout while expending little effort,” he wrote.

In 2010, the Obama Administration issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking stating that it would issue ADA guidance.

However, when President Trump took office, the administration removed that plan from a list of rules and guidance the administration intends to issue.

As a result, the lawsuits were filed.

Nussle said the Justice Department has steadfastly refused to issue any guidance, despite appeal from six senators, 103 House members and 19 attorneys general.

And the House Appropriations included language in its version of the report for this year’s Commerce-Justice-Science directing the Justice Department to issue guidance. However, that provision was not included in the final spending measure.