A Pittsburgh-based law firm, that has filed well over 100 class action lawsuits under Title III of the Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”) in federal District Courts throughout the country against banks on behalf of a plaintiff who alleged that the banks’ ATMs were inaccessible, is back at it and is filing more ADA Title III class actions against banks. The new ADA Title III class actions claim that the defendant banks’ branch locations are physically inaccessible to individuals in wheelchairs. In the past few weeks, the Carlson Lynch law firm has filed seven such class action lawsuits in the Federal District Court in Pittsburgh, all against banks the law firm had previously sued for alleged ATM accessibility violations. All of the new lawsuits involve the same plaintiff, Damian M. Zipf, who, according to the Complaints, is dependent upon a motorized wheelchair for mobility. Zipf alleges that he has been deterred from patronizing the bank branches because of certain accessibility barriers. In these newly filed wheelchair accessibility class actions, the plaintiff is alleging a variety of general ADA accessibility violations, including, but not limited to, inaccessible parking lots, handicap signs that are too low, inaccessible door hardware and entrances, and obstructed accessible routes. In each lawsuit, the Plaintiff claims to have visited a number of bank branches and has alleged specific ADA violations at each location.
Pittsburgh-based law firm, Carlson Lynch, responsible for the filing of over 100 nearly identical Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ATM class action lawsuits in federal district courts in Pennsylvania and Texas since March 2012, filed in federal district court in Atlanta last week the first of what are likely to be many ADA ATM accessibility class action lawsuits against Atlanta-area banks. If the plaintiff and plaintiff’s law firm follow the same strategy that was used in Pennsylvania and Texas, it is anticipated that a number of virtually identical class action lawsuits will be filed by against Atlanta-area banks, and banks throughout Georgia, over the course of the next several days and weeks.
Click here to read more about the more salient ADA ATM requirements.
On February 11, 2013, in response to the increased volume of mortgage servicing transfers and the potential impact of these transfers on consumers, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a bulletin to mortgage servicers, both banks and nonbanks, advising them of their legal obligations to protect consumers during loan transfers. The bulletin indicates that the CFPB is particularly concerned about lost paperwork during transfers, service interruptions when loans are transferred during the loss mitigation process, and wrongful foreclosures.
Pittsburgh-based law firm Carlson Lynch has now filed sixty-eight Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”) ATM class action lawsuits in Pennsylvania Federal District Courts against banks operating in Pennsylvania and surrounding states, and it does not appear that the filings are going to stop anytime soon.
On Thursday, December 20, 2012, a week after the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 4367, a bill eliminating the requirement that ATM operators post a fee notice on the ATM equipment, President Obama signed the bill into law. Banks, credit unions, and ATM industry groups, many of whom viewed the fee notice requirements as a source of frivolous lawsuits against ATM owners and operators, worked to push the legislation through Congress. While the new law eliminates the requirement that ATM operators post notice of fees on the actual equipment, fee notices are still required to be posted on the ATM screen or provided on a paper noticed issued by the machine. What remains unclear is the effect the new law will have on fee notice lawsuits that were pending prior to the repeal of the old fee notice requirements. The defendants in those pending matters are hopeful that the courts will consider the change in the law in their overall consideration of the cases.