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In the fall 2023 term, the Court is currently set to consider a case of whether a civil rights “tester,” someone who collects information as to whether a place of public accommodation is in compliance with laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) without an intent actually to visit those places or use those services, has standing to sue such businesses.
At issue is whether “tester” Deborah Laufer, had standing to bring suit against Acheson Hotels. Laufer alleged that the website for a hotel operated by Acheson Hotels had insufficient information to comply with the ADA and accommodate those with disabilities. Acheson Hotels argued that since Ms. Laufer had no intention of visiting the hotel in question, she, therefore, had no standing to sue.
Ms. Laufer lost in district court, which threw out her suit for lack of standing, but the First Circuit reinstated her lawsuit, ruling she did have standing. That prompted an appeal by Acheson Hotels to the Supreme Court, which granted certiorari.
Interestingly, after certiorari was granted, Ms. Laufer dropped her case in district court after an attorney who has represented her in other cases was disciplined by a federal Court located in Maryland. Ms. Laufer’s lawyers thus also asked SCOTUS to dismiss the Acheson Hotels case for mootness, given that the district case is no longer live.
Oral argument in Acheson Hotels, LLC v. Laufer is still set for October 4, 2023.
In this recorded webinar Karen Harned, who filed an amicus brief in the case, provided a preview of the case and the issues worth tracking in this conversation.
–Karen Harned, President, Harned Strategies LLC
–(Moderator) Joel Nolette, Associate, Wiley Rein LLP
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