United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Michael F. Urbanski, Chief United States District Judge.
Keith Carroll, who is permanently blind, brings this action
pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
(ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12181 et seq.. alleging he
is denied full use and enjoyment of defendant Roanoke Valley
Community Credit Union's website in violation of federal
law. Carroll seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive
relief, as well as his costs and attorneys' fees. RVCCU
moves to dismiss Carroll's complaint, arguing a website
is not a place of public accommodation under the ADA and, in
any event, Carroll lacks standing to bring this claim. The
National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, as
amicus curiae, filed a brief in support of RVCCU's motion
Carroll has not alleged an injury-in-fact sufficient to
confer standing, the court will GRANT
defendant's motion and dismiss this case for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction.
is a permanently blind resident of Virginia who uses a screen
reader to access the internet and read website content. RVCCU
is a federal credit union with its principal place of
business in Roanoke, Virginia. RVCCU owns and operates credit
union locations in Virginia, which constitute places of
public accommodation. RVCCU also operates a public website,
www.rvccu.org, which provides information about
RVCCU's services and locations.
alleges that website accessibility barriers prevent him from
freely navigating www.rvccu.org, despite his recent
attempts. These access barriers include, but are not limited
(1) Linked image missing alternative text which presents a
problem because an image without alternative text results in
an empty link. . . . The lack of Alternative Text on these
graphics prevents screen readers from accurately vocalizing a
description of the graphics. . . .; (2) Redundant Links where
adjacent links go to the same URL address which results in
additional navigation and repetition for keyboard and screen
reader users; and (3) Empty or missing form labels which
presented a problem because if a form control does not have a
properly associated text label, the function or purpose of
that form control may not be presented to screen reader
users. Form labels provide visible descriptions and larger
clickable targets for form controls.
Compl., ECF No. 1, at ¶ 13. Carroll claims that RVCCU
has failed to remove these access barriers and, as a result,
has denied him full use and equal enjoyment of its website.
moves to dismiss Carroll's complaint, arguing websites
are not places of public accommodation pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 12181(7) and that Carroll lacks standing to bring this
a plaintiff has standing to bring a cause of action "is
generally associated with Civil Procedure Rule 12(b)(1)
pertaining to subject matter jurisdiction." CGM. LLC
v. BellSouth Telecomms., Inc., 664 F.3d 46, 52 (4th Cir.
2011). "That is because 'Article III gives federal
courts jurisdiction only over cases and controversies, '
and standing is 'an integral component of the case or
controversy requirement.'" Id. (quoting
Miller v. Brown, 462 F.3d 312, 316 (4th Cir. 2006)).
"[W]hen a federal court concludes that it lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the
complaint in its entirety." Arbaugh v. Y&H
Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006).
survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), a complaint need only contain sufficient
factual matter which, if accepted as true, "state[s] a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face."
Ashcroft v. Iqbal. 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). A complaint is "facially plausible" when
the facts alleged "allow[ ] the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged." Id. This "standard is
not akin to a 'probability requirement, ' but
it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a
defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. When
ruling on a motion to dismiss, the court must "accept
the well-pled allegations of the complaint as true" and
"construe the facts and reasonable inferences derived
therefrom in the light most favorable to the plaintiff."
Ibarra v. United States. 120 F.3d 472, 474 (4th Cir.
the court must accept as true all well-pled factual
allegations, the same is not true for legal conclusions.
"Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; see also
Wag More Dogs. LLC v. Cozart,680 F.3d 359, 365 (4th
Cir. 2012) ("Although we are constrained to take the
facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, we need
not accept legal conclusions couched as ...