‘Booking Rule’ Lawsuit Against California Hotel Dismissed – Hotel Law Blog – January 20, 2022
January 19, 2022
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ADA serial litigants continue to face challenges in court as dozens of cases alleging failure to include accessibility information on hotel websites are dismissed. Martin Orlick, President of JMBM’s ADA Compliance and Defense Group, describes one such case encountered by a JMBM client below. This success is good news for hotels worried about lawsuits related to reservation rules.
Serial Plaintiff’s ‘Booking Rule’ Lawsuit Against California Hotel Is Dismissed
Martin Orlick, President, JMBM’s ADA Compliance and Defense Group
In another blow to the ADA’s serial litigation against hotels, a judge in the Northern District of California issued an opinion dismissing the case against customer JMBM OCI, which owns and operates a Comfort Inn & Suites near San Francisco International Airport.
Brian Whitaker, who has filed nearly 2,000 lawsuits against the ADA over the past two years, claimed that the OCI failed to include enough detail in its online description of accessible features, violating the “rule of reservation” of the ADA. JMBM filed a motion to dismiss on behalf of the OCI, which was granted on January 6, 2022. This is the second reservation rule case dismissed by this judge. The opinion is available here.
The Reservation Rule refers to ADA guidelines requiring hotels to include accessible room and feature information on their website, so guests know before they book whether they can safely and comfortably stay in the room. the establishment. A hotel may be ADA-compliant if it includes a tub or roll-in shower, for example, but some guests may need to know which option is offered in order to determine if the room meets their needs.
The Court found that OCI’s website contained sufficient information because it indicates which rooms are accessible to the ADA and identifies the features available in each room. Features that Whitaker claimed to need specific information on, such as sink accessibility and clearance around furniture and fixtures, are already required by the ADA and do not require further description. If a “picture is worth a thousand words,” then the hotel’s website photographs of accessible features could fill a novel.
Defense attorneys have successfully defeated more than 80 similar cases against hotels; nearly all of these reservation rule cases filed by this law firm have been dismissed. There are important lessons to be learned from writing and developing websites from court decisions, and the lessons for hotels so far are clear – as long as hotels take positive steps to put their websites in compliance with the reservation rule, they are less likely to be the targets of litigants. If targeted, such cases are defensible.
Martin H. Orlick is one of the top ADA defense attorneys in the country. He has helped hotels, restaurants, retailers, banks and other commercial property owners defend over 600 ADA cases. In addition to defending government lawsuits and investigations, Marty’s team of ADA specialists focuses on enterprise-wide ADA compliance and litigation prevention, including facilities, website, and compliance. operational.
Marty is Chairman of JMBM’s ADA Compliance and Defense Group, Partner in JMBM’s Real Estate Group, and a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL). For more information on ADA Compliance and Defense, contact Marty Orlick at 415.984.9667 or [email protected]
It is Jim Butler, author of www.HotelLawBlog.com and founding partner of JMBM and JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group®. We provide business and legal advice to hotel owners, developers, independent operators and investors. These tips cover critical hotel issues such as buying, selling, development, financing, franchising, management, ADA, and intellectual property issues. We also have a compelling track record in hotel litigation, union avoidance and labor negotiations, as well as cybersecurity and data privacy.
JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® has helped clients around the world with more than 4,500 hotel properties worth over $112 billion. contact me at +1-310-201-3526 or [email protected] to discuss how we can help you.
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