Bruce Carlson is a partner of Carlson Lynch Pittsburgh (412) 322-9243 | San Diego (619) 762-1910

IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS 2019-02-27T03:55:14+00:00

“Humbled and honored to receive an ACHIEVA Excellence Award for the provision of Legal Services to individuals with disabilities and their families.”

Bruce Carlson, Founding Partner Carlson Lynch

Person touching braille

Companies Face Lawsuits Over Website Accessibility For Blind Users

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL | Nov. 1, 2016

The disability lawsuits started hitting the Pittsburgh federal courthouse last July, all claiming corporations’ websites violated the law by not being accessible to the blind. The first round came against household names such as Foot Locker Inc., Toys “R” Us, Brooks…

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Cash money

Firm Wants Former Employee’s Millions From Recent Settlement; ‘Absurd,’ He Replies

FORBES MAGAZINE | August 9, 2017

The way his former firm sees it, prominent Western Pennsylvania plaintiffs attorney R. Bruce Carlson has essentially been working for it for the past 13 years as he litigated a long-running class action – even though he resigned in 2004.

On June 5, the Pittsburgh law firm Specter Specter Evans & Manogue filed a lawsuit against Carlson, who left the firm long ago to create Carlson Lynch in 2004. The Specter firm alleges Carlson owes it nearly all of his $2.45 million in fees gained in a recent $24 million settlement regarding fees imposed on those who took out second mortgages from Community Bank of Northern Virginia.

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Banks’ ADA compliance at ATMs under scrutiny

THE LEGAL INTELLIGENCER | September 12, 2017

Institutions must provide access at machines for visually impaired; some named in lawsuits
New requirements for automated teller machine accessibility for the blind took effect March 15, but some Northeast Ohio banks and credit unions are not yet in compliance, while others have been named as defendants in lawsuits that allege they’ve failed to do what’s required with their ATMs. Published in September 2010 and mandated as of mid-March of this year, new Americans with Disabilities Act standards require all of a financial institution’s ATMs, with few exceptions, to have auxiliary aids and services, including voice instructions, headphone capabilities and privacy provisions, such as the blacking out of screens when audio components are used. Dollar Bank, Huntington Bank and PNC Bank are three institutions operating locally that have been named in civil rights complaints that, as of July 5, have been brought against 20 institutions by the Pittsburgh law firm of Carlson Lynch Ltd. on behalf of a man who is visually impaired. Dollar Bank has filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that Robert Jahoda’s claim that an ATM malfunctioned, leaving him unable to use its voice guidance feature, is not the basis for an ADA claim…

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Lawsuit targets CNB over notices for ATM fees

Rochester Business Journal | October 23, 2009

A Pennsylvania law firm specializing in class-action complaints has targeted the Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Co. in a suit seeking refunds for ATM customers who used machines that allegedly failed to properly post the fees charged.

The suit, which seeks class-action certification, was filed Oct. 13 in U.S. District Court in Rochester by the Carlson Lynch Ltd. law firm of Sewickley, Pa. The complaint,

which alleges that CNB violated the federal Electronic Funds Transfer Act by failing to post fee notices properly, is one of roughly a dozen actions filed this year by the Pennsylvania firm against banks and credit unions, said Carlson Lynch partner Bruce Carlson.

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Clothes on hangers

Retailers accused of making teens buy clothes

EAST BAY TIMES | July 3, 2005

Laura Kearney’s family kept saying she was spending more on clothes for work than she was making at the mall. Then her paralegal sister saw an ad in a newspaper looking for Abercrombie & Fitch employees to join a lawsuit accusing the chain of requiring staff to spend their paychecks on the latest fashions.

Kearney, a former employee of an Abercrombie’s store in Pittsburgh, made the call to the lawyer’s office, but decided she did not want to pick a fight with the chain where she had loved working. Instead, she ended up as a lead plaintiff in a similar suit against the Express chain of stores and won a $3,000 payout as part of that suit’s settlement.

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Person using ATM

Banks face a slew of suits over their ADA-violating ATMs

ABA JOURNAL | June 2014

A litigation trend has banks facing a spate of class actions related to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A 2010 update to the law required that automated teller machines be speech-enabled and have tactile instructions by 2012. More than 100 class actions were filed by visually impaired plaintiffs in federal district courts throughout the U.S., alleging that ATMs remained inaccessible.

In many cases, failure to comply was due to manufacturer backlogs for upgraded machines and prohibitive costs (about $30,000 per ATM) for smaller banks. Litigation was effective in forcing compliance, says Pittsburgh-based class attorney R. Bruce Carlson. Cases were filed as class actions to pre-empt the primary defense: That a plaintiff wasn’t in the same community as a nonaccessible ATM.

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Man using gavel

Americans with Disabilities Act: Public access suits gaining ground

AL.com Alabama Business | June 10, 2014

Last month, I wrote about the large number of public access Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuits being filed in Alabama against various businesses, such as restaurants and hotels. On June 1, Leslie Gordon with the American Bar Association published an article entitled “Noncompliance. Banks face a slew of suites over their ATMS.” Ms. Gordon reviews the history of banks and the ADA: that in 2010, the ADA was amended to require banks to make their ATM machines accessible for those with disabilities. Many banks did not comply with the required change, with the 2 main reasons being that manufacturers were backlogged in making the changes, and the cost, up to $30,000 per ATM, was prohibitive. Now a number of suits are being filed around the country against banks alleging that the banks themselves are physically inaccessible to individuals with disabilities. These claims include allegations concerning the height of counters, door mechanisms and handicapped van accessibility. R. Bruce Carlson, a Pittsburgh based attorney who handles class actions, believes that these actions are being driven by advocacy groups.

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Person in wheelchair

Wendy’s Hit With ADA Class Action Over Wheelchair Access

Law360 | July 9, 2014

Law360, New York (July 9, 2014, 6:51 PM EDT) — A Pennsylvania man hit a Wendy’s International Inc. subsidiary with a proposed Americans with Disabilities Act class action in Pennsylvania federal court on Wednesday, alleging architectural barriers at Pittsburgh-area Wendy’s restaurants illegally limit access for wheelchair users.

Christopher Mielo, a mobility-disabled man who relies on a wheelchair, claimed 17 Wendy’s restaurants in and around Pittsburgh that are owned and managed by Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers of New York Inc. have accessibility barriers, including excessive slopes in parking spaces and access aisles, blocking independent use of the facilities.
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Wendy’s Hit With ADA Class Action Over Wheelchair Access

Person using computer keyboard

Blind woman sues Toys “R” Us, alleging violation of federal disabilities act

PennRecord | September 16, 2015

A blind Pennsylvania woman is suing Toy “R” Us, alleging its websites are not accessible to blind and visually challenged consumers, violating Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Michelle Sipe filed a lawsuit Aug. 7 in U.S. States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against Toys “R” Us Inc.

According to the complaint, blind and visually impaired consumers must use screen reading software or other assisting technologies in order to access website content at Toys “R” Us. The suit says the toy company’s website contains digital barriers which limit the ability of blind and visually impaired consumers to access the sites.
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Fashion marketer LuLaRoe sued over sales tax charges

MONEY WATCH | February 24, 2017

LuLaRoe, a multilevel marketer of brightly colored women’s fashions whose popularity has surged in recent years — especially among millennials who sell the wares at home gatherings or in online forums — is facing a federal lawsuit accusing it of collecting sales taxes from customers in states that don’t levy one on clothing. The company also is facing criticism over the quality of its garments and its business practices.

According to the Feb. 17 lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Western Pennsylvania, LuLaRoe’s independent representatives are required to use a proprietary online point-of-sale software called “Audrey” that automatically charges customers sales tax based on the location where the salesperson is based rather than the taxing authority where the customer is located.
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PNC agrees to settle home loan class-action suit for up to $70M

TRIB LIVE | September 13, 2016

PNC Financial Services Group Inc. has agreed to pay as much as $70 million to end a 12-year-old class-action lawsuit that it inherited when it bought a Virginia bank, according to court documents.

About 26,000 people who took out secondary home loans with Community Bank of Northern Virginia alleged the bank charged excessive fees, including fees for services it didn’t provide, and paid kickbacks to a mortgage broker firm that steered them toward the bank.

PNC assumed the liability for the class-action lawsuit when it bought Mercantile Bankshares Corp. in 2006, a year after that Baltimore-based bank bought Community Bank.
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Hands on braille

Lawsuits look out for blind at ATM machines

TRIB LIVE | September 13, 2016

A series of federal lawsuits seek to bring banks, including some with local branches, into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act by forcing them to make all automated teller machines accessible to the blind.

A series of federal lawsuits seek to bring banks, including some with local branches, into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act by forcing them to make all automated teller machines accessible to the blind.

Approximately 146 cases have been filed since December against banks in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio and Texas on behalf of blind individuals.
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Typing on keyboard

Plaintiffs bar, blind clients increasingly targeting companies’ websites with disabilities lawsuits

LEGAL NEWS LINE | February 22, 2016

Defense attorneys say there has been an “explosion of activity” from payment-seeking plaintiffs lawyers and their blind clients who are alleging violations of federal disabilities law in lawsuits over companies’ websites – particularly in three jurisdictions.

What has resulted from these Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits and demand letters is companies being catapulted into a “gray area of the law,” says Kristina Launey, a labor and employment attorney and partner in the Sacramento office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.
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Clothes on hangers

Fashion Marketer LuLaRoe Sued Over Sales Tax Charges

CBS WDJT – MILWAUKEE | February 24, 2017

(CBS NEWS) LuLaRoe, a multilevel marketer of brightly colored women’s fashions, is in trouble with the law. After surging in popularity in recent years, it’s now facing a federal lawsuit accusing it of collecting sales taxes from customers in states that don’t levy a tax on clothing, while consumers are also complaining about its business practices.

According to the Feb. 17 lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Western Pennsylvania, LuLaRoe’s independent representatives are required to use a proprietary online point-of-sale software called “Audrey” that automatically charges customers sales tax based on the location where the salesperson is based rather than the taxing authority where the customer is located.
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Man with fingers crossed

Lawsuits Shine Spotlight on Law Firm Advertising Practices

THE LEGAL INTELLIGENCER | March 5, 2018

A recent federal court decision sent a message to law firms: Lying in advertisements about your firm may be wrong, but it won’t necessarily carry a price tag in civil litigation.
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