On August 9, 2023, NWLC joined an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Acheson Hotels, LLC v. Laufer led by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The case is about whether “testers” whose rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are violated by a hotel failing to provide disability accessibility information have standing to challenge the violation of their rights if they aren’t planning to stay at the hotel.
Our brief argues that, as the Supreme Court has long held, people who have personally experienced unlawful discrimination suffer dignitary harm, and that dignitary harm gives them standing to sue in federal court. The brief rebuts the hotel’s argument that dignitary harms from discrimination can be “self-inflicted.” It explains that the person who discriminates—not the person who endures the discrimination—is always the one who inflicts the harm.
This case was brought by Deborah Laufer, an ADA tester. Laufer, who has multiple sclerosis, uses a wheelchair and has found that hotels rarely provide complete and accurate accessibility information online—which makes it hard for her to travel overnight. She sued Acheson Hotels because their website did not provide accessibility information. After a lower court dismissal, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit issued a ruling in favor of Laufer last October, concluding that Laufer does, in fact, have legal grounds to sue because the website she personally visited violated her rights under the ADA. Acheson Hotels, LLC appealed this decision to the Supreme Court, which accepted the case earlier this year. The case is scheduled to be heard on October 4.