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Acheson Hotels LLC v. Laufer

A regulation issued by the Department of Justice under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that hotel reservation systems, including online systems, provide enough information about the nature of a hotel’s facilities to allow a person with a disability to determine whether a room would accommodate her disability. In this case, the plaintiff sued a hotel under the ADA after accessing the system of an inn in Maine that did not provide the information. In response, the defendant argued that she lacked standing because she did not intend to reserve a room and had accessed the website only to “test” its compliance and file a lawsuit if she found that the website did not comply with the ADA regulation.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that the plaintiff had standing under a longstanding Supreme Court precedent, Havens Realty v. Coleman, which affirmed tester standing under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Among other things, Havens held that a tester who was given inaccurate information about the availability of housing in violation of the FHA suffered an “informational” injury sufficient to support Article III standing to sue in a federal court.

The hotel then sought Supreme Court review. The Court granted certiorari to consider whether a tester plaintiff seeking to enforce the ADA’s requirements concerning reservation systems has Article III standing. Public Citizen filed a brief supporting standing. The brief explained that informational injuries are “injuries in fact” under the Supreme Court’s decisions, and that no injury other than the denial of information to which a plaintiff claims a substantive entitlement under a statute or regulation is necessary to support Article III standing.

In December 2023, based on subsequent events, the Court vacated the decision below as moot without addressing standing.