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Supreme Court Throws Out Case That Could Have Limited Lawsuits Over Disability Access

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The Supreme Court dismisses a case involving disability access at a Maine hotel, leaving the issue of tester lawsuits unresolved nationally. (AP File/Mariam Zuhaib)
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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a case surrounding a Maine hotel that could have made it harder for people with disabilities to learn in advance whether a hotel’s accommodations meet their needs.

Hotels and other business interests had urged the justices to limit the ability of so-called testers to file lawsuits against hotels that fail to disclose accessibility information on their websites and through other reservation services.

The information is required by a 2010 Justice Department rule. People who suffer discrimination can sue under the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act, signed into law in 1990.

The Court’s Decision

The justices did not issue a decision on the substance of the case. Instead, they dismissed the case and threw out a lower court ruling in favor of tester lawsuits. The outcome leaves the issue unresolved nationally.

Federal courts in some parts of the country allow such lawsuits. In others, those suits are barred.

The Case Details

The case in front of the court involved whether Deborah Laufer, a woman with disabilities, has the right to sue a hotel in Maine that lacked the accessibility information on its website, despite having no plans to visit it.

In an effort to forestall an unfavorable ruling, Laufer withdrew her lawsuit against the hotel.

 

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