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Two Women Sue Tennessee Banks over ATM Accessibility

August 6, 2013
Source: Nashville City Paper

Story By Emily Kubis

Two women — both legally blind — filed federal lawsuits against seven banking companies Monday in U.S. District Court in Nashville, alleging that the banks’ inaccessible ATMs violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The suits against Capital Bank, First Tennessee Bank, Wilson Bank and Trust, Electric Service Credit Union, Avenue Bank and Midsouth Bank claim the facilities’ ATMs do not have the features mandated by the ADA for visually impaired individuals, such as voice guidance and tactile keyboards.

Susan Welchly of Tennessee and Ashley Summers of Alabama, who filed the suits, are both legally blind due to retinitis pigmentosa, which is a damaged retina eye condition.

Welchly also filed two suits against Cadence Bank and First Bank earlier this year on the same grounds.

The ADA requires that banks and financial institutions providing ATMs must ensure the machines are accessible to and independently useable by individuals who are blind or otherwise visually impaired.

The suits cite a 2012 article from The Wall Street Journal that said at least 50 percent of ATMs in the United States remain inaccessible to [individuals who are] blind.

Welchly and Summers request the court to order the banks to comply with the ADA requirement as well as cover court fees.

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