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Court rejects lawsuit by blind woman against credit unions

August 27, 2019

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — A blind woman who challenged two Michigan credit unions over use of their websites can’t sue them because she’s not eligible to become a member anyway, a federal appeals court said Tuesday.

The court said Karla Brintley has no standing to sue Aeroquip Credit Union in Jackson and Belle River Community Credit Union in St. Clair County, no matter the merits of her allegations. The court overturned a decision by U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow.

Brintley in 2017 accused the credit unions of violating federal law because their websites weren’t compatible with a screen reader used by the blind. She acknowledged being a “tester” who checks companies’ compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

But the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said she didn’t personally suffer an injury because she’s not eligible to use their services. The court noted she doesn’t work for Aeroquip Corp., which would make her eligible to join Aeroquip Credit Union, or live in St. Clair County, home of Belle River.

“The internet is a vast and often unpleasant place,” Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote. “It contains plenty that may offend, and those who set out looking for dignitary slights won’t be disappointed. But merely browsing the web, without more, isn’t enough. ... And whatever that ‘more’ may entail, Brintley doesn’t have it.”

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