(USNewsMag.com) – A case involving a disabled activist who filed lawsuits against hotels she wasn’t intending to visit will be heard by the Supreme Court.
The case involves Florida resident Deborah Laufer, who has filed lawsuits against over 600 owners and operators of hotels, mostly smaller, bed and breakfast type hotels. Acheson Hotels asked the Supreme Court to take on the case after Laufer sued them.
According to court documents, Laufer uses a wheelchair or cane as she has a vision impairment along with limited use of her hands. In her lawsuits, she says the websites do not make it clear to those with disabilities if they are accessible. Laufer alleges the websites do not comply with the rules of the Americans with Disabilities Act which require hotels to disclose information about accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Laufer sues the hotels with the hope that it forces them to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act law.
Lawsuits brought by self-appointed “testers,” such as Laufer, have divided the federal appeals courts. Standing, or whether or not the testers suffered an injury that gives them the ability to sue, is at question. Some courts have declined the lawsuit while others ruled that those never intending to visit the property can still sue.
In the case of Laufer and Acheson Hotels, the District Court of Maine threw out the case for lack of standing while the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reversed the decision during her appeal.
Acheson Hotels which owns Coast Village Inn and Cottages in Maine, currently has a notice posted on its website apologizing for inconvenience but that they don’t have the ability to provide for ADA compliant or pet-friendly lodging.
Laufer urged the Supreme Court justices to take the case.
The Supreme Court will now make the decision next term though a date for oral arguments has not yet been set.
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