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One Very Vital Day | February 9, 2024 — LODGING


AHLA facilitates victories in opposition to tester lawsuits and the homeless-in-hotels poll measure

Dec. 5, 2023, was an essential day for the resort business, as hoteliers scored key victories in two powerful, high-profile fights which have vexed the business for years: tester lawsuits and Los Angeles’ homeless-in-hotels poll initiative.

Supreme Court docket Evaluations Serial Lawsuits

It’s uncommon that a problem affecting our business goes all the best way to the Supreme Court docket. However in early December, the courtroom delivered hoteliers a victory within the case of Acheson Accommodations, LLC v. Laufer. The case handled tester lawsuits, through which plaintiffs file a whole bunch of authorized complaints in opposition to inns in an effort to shake down small-business homeowners and make a fast buck.

Whereas AHLA hoped for a broader ruling, because of this case the plaintiff dismissed a whole bunch of fits in opposition to inns and vowed to the courtroom that she would by no means once more carry some of these claims. Right here’s what occurred: Serial litigant Deborah Laufer sued a whole bunch of inns for alleged failure to adjust to the People with Disabilities Act (ADA). However Laufer by no means meant to remain on the inns she sued. She merely filed the lawsuits based mostly off data she discovered on their web sites.

Acheson Accommodations fought again, nonetheless, and with the help of the American Lodge & Lodging Affiliation, it argued that Laufer lacked the authorized standing to sue inns she had no intention of ever visiting.

A decrease courtroom had dominated in opposition to Acheson, however issues modified when the Supreme Court docket agreed to listen to the case on the urging of AHLA, a number of of our associate state associations, and others.

After the excessive courtroom agreed to take up the case, Laufer dismissed her swimsuit in opposition to Acheson and a whole bunch of others she had filed. She additionally promised the courtroom she wouldn’t file comparable circumstances sooner or later. Laufer has been chargeable for so a lot of some of these fits, she single-handedly prompted a number of federal courts to challenge conflicting rulings, inflicting disarray and confusion of federal legislation.

The Supreme Court docket additionally vacated the decrease courtroom determination that had present in favor of the plaintiff—a robust sign from the courtroom that it might not tolerate these sorts of circumstances transferring ahead.

The People with Disabilities Act is a essential civil rights legislation; nonetheless, Acheson Accommodations, LLC v. Laufer was by no means about authorized compliance. It was about utilizing the ADA as a canopy to attain fast settlements in opposition to small-business homeowners, and we’re happy the nation’s prime courtroom took motion to discourage this observe sooner or later.

Widespread Sense Wins in California

Accommodations in Los Angeles have been preventing for years in opposition to a transfer to deal with homeless folks subsequent to paying visitors. Extremely, this ridiculous thought got here from Unite Right here, a union that represents hospitality employees within the metropolis. Unite Right here gathered sufficient signatures to efficiently put the problem on the poll in Los Angeles. Voters have been set to determine in March of this yr whether or not all L.A. inns can be compelled to deal with homeless folks subsequent to paying visitors, and early polling confirmed it had an actual likelihood of passing. This clearly would have put L.A. resort employees and town’s whole tourism business in severe hazard.

Fortunately, the L.A. Metropolis Council voted Dec. 5 to withdraw the homeless-in-hotels measure from the poll. The vote got here after Unite Right here formally requested the council to take away the measure, which might not have occurred with out the joint efforts of the California Lodge & Lodging Affiliation, the Lodge Affiliation of Los Angeles, and AHLA.

The truth that Unite Right here pushed this coverage for practically two years solely to desert it on the final minute reveals the entire effort was nothing greater than a bargaining tactic slightly than a severe try to handle Los Angeles’ homelessness disaster.

In the end, the union despatched a robust message to hoteliers and policymakers in every single place that even the protection and safety of its personal members is up for negotiation. Nonetheless, AHLA will all the time battle to place resort worker and visitor security first, even when Unite Right here refuses to take action.

Our victories in Los Angeles and on the Supreme Court docket are proof that commonsense insurance policies can nonetheless prevail. However in addition they underscore the necessity for hoteliers to talk with one sturdy voice in any respect ranges of presidency. AHLA is proud to be that voice for you, and we look ahead to extra successes all through 2024.


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