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Griffin v. Department of Labor Federal Credit Union

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

January 3, 2019

CLARENCE GRIFFIN, Plaintiff - Appellant,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR FEDERAL CREDIT UNION, a/k/a DOLFCU, Defendant-Appellee, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FEDERALLY-INSURED CREDIT UNIONS; CREDIT UNION NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, Amici Supporting Appellee.

          Argued: October 30, 2018

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Alexandria. T.S. Ellis, III, Senior District Judge. (1:17-cv-01419-TSE-IDD)

         ARGUED:

          Thomas Eugene Strelka, STRELKA LAW OFFICE, Roanoke, Virginia, for Appellant.

          John Michael Bredehoft, KAUFMAN & CANOLES, PC, Norfolk, Virginia, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          L. Leigh Strelka, Norvell W. West IV, STRELKA LAW OFFICE, Roanoke, Virginia; Scott J. Ferrell, Victoria C. Knowles, PACIFIC TRIAL ATTORNEYS, P.C., Newport Beach, California, for Appellant.

          Edward Lee Isler, Mark E. Papadopoulos, ISLER DARE, P.C., Vienna, Virginia, for Amicus National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions.

          Jonathan C. Sandler, Los Angeles, California, Christine A. Samsel, Denver, Colorado, Michael H. Pryor, BROWNSTEIN HYATT FARBER SCHRECK, LLP, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Credit Union National Association.

          Before WILKINSON, KING, and QUATTLEBAUM, Circuit Judges.

          WILKINSON, Circuit Judge.

         Appellant here has asserted that he has standing to challenge various aspects of the Department of Labor Federal Credit Union's website under the Americans with Disabilities Act. 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. The district court granted the Credit Union's Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss. Because we agree that appellant lacks constitutional standing, we now affirm the judgment.

         I.

         The Department of Labor Federal Credit Union, the appellee, is a federal credit union that, under the Federal Credit Union Act of 1934, accepts as members only those who share the "common bond" of being current and former employees of the Department of Labor and their immediate families and households. 12 U.S.C. § 1759(b). Only members can take advantage of the Credit Union's products or services; only members may open an account or take out a loan or enjoy in any way the benefits of the Credit Union. The Credit Union maintains a website that describes its services and products.

         Clarence Griffin, the appellant, is a blind resident of Virginia. Because of his visual impairment, Griffin uses a screen reader to access the Internet. As he explains in his complaint, screen readers help the blind access the Internet by reading aloud the text that appears on a website. Website operators often take special care to ensure their sites are legible to screen readers. Many visually impaired people like Griffin also rely more heavily on keyboards than mouses to navigate the Internet. Because of this, it is ...


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