Precedent-Setting Defeat of Americans with Disabilities Act Lawsuit Against Bank's ATM Operations


Scoring a win against a pandemic of class actions, Cadence Bank defeated a putative class action that had accused the bank of indifference to the Americans with Disabilities Act at its ATMs. The Plaintiff alleged that an ATM at one branch was not accessible, as required by standards that the banking and ATM industries have endeavored to meet since they became effective on March 15, 2012. The Plaintiff requested court supervision of the bank's entire fleet of ATMs because, she alleged, the bank did not have a policy for adhering with the ADA.

The Waller defense, led by Financial Services partner Derek Edwards, proved that the bank had replaced and upgraded its ATMs, thereby achieving compliance. The defense emphasized the bank’s good faith efforts to complete the necessary upgrades, which were exacerbated by the fact that the demand for replacement ATMs exceeded the supply for new compliant ones. The defense also proved that the bank had instituted a policy to inspect every one of its ATMs to ensure that they continued to comply with the ADA standards, such that court supervision of the bank and its practices was not appropriate.

The opinion, available at: 2014 WL 271629 (Jan. 23, 2014), is an important precedent for the banking and ATM industries as they try to defeat mirror-image ADA class actions.

For more information, please contact Derek Edwards (615 850 8192).