Whether “testers” have standing to sue under the ADA when they have suffered no injury of their own? Most federal courts of appeal that have looked as to whether testers have standing to sue under the “Reservation Rule,” which involves whether a hotel sufficiently identifies and describes accessible features of the hotel and guest rooms on its website, have answer in the negative. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit answered in the affirmative.
December 8, 2022
The Restaurant Law Center and co-amici filed a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Laufer v. Acheson Hotels, LLC decision by the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals because of the split between the courts as to whether “testers” have standing to sue under the ADA when they have suffered no injury of their own. We also argue that testers do not have standing under these circumstances. Unless the U.S. Supreme Court takes this appeal, the foodservice industry will remain vulnerable to “tester” lawsuits challenging website and other accessibility issues by those having no real plans to patronize their businesses.
March 27, 2023
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) agreed to hear the case.
June 12, 2023
The Restaurant Law Center and its state affiliates in the First Circuit, also joined by others, filed a brief arguing that “testers” do not have standing to commence a lawsuit alleging a violation of the ADA’s hotel website reservation rule. Amici also argued that resolving this issue for the hotel will benefit the foodservice industry as allowing for “tester” standing in ADA website litigation would result in thousands of additional serial plaintiff filings.
December 5, 2023
The U.S. Supreme Court decided that the case is now moot and, therefore, refused to decide whether a self-appointed “tester” not planning to visit a hospitality establishment had standing to sue over the establishment’s website. The plaintiff voluntarily dismissed all her pending ADA cases—after a lower court reprimanded and disciplined her lawyer for lying in these cases. Over the objections of Justice Jackson, the majority vacated the decision of the First Circuit and remanded the case with instructions to dismiss the case as moot. Justice Thomas filed a separate concurrent opinion to point out that as to “whether plaintiffs . . . have standing to bring these claims. I would answer this important and recurring question . . . And, I conclude that [plaintiff] lacks standing.”