High Court ADA Cases May Signal Return To Original Intent of the Statute

Two cases brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have recently made their way through the federal appellate court system that raise significant standing to sue issues and questions concerning the original intent of the ADA. An article by Ring Bender partner Norman Dupont about these cases was published in issues of Law360.com posted on August 21, 2023.

The first case – Acheson Hotels LLC v. Laufer – concerns a disabled woman and serial plaintiff who searches ADA disability accommodation descriptions on hotel websites via her home Internet. When she deems that a particular hotel has insufficient description of potential accommodations for a disabled visitor, she sues the hotel for “failure to accommodate” under the ADA.

A troubling factor in this case is the plaintiff – a “tester” who has filed more than 600 similar suits – never stayed at (or intended to stay at) the two hotels in question. Thus, she did not suffer any actual physical inconvenience or even a cancelled reservation resulting from the purported ADA violations. The Supreme Court will hear arguments for this case on October 4, 2023 to determine whether standing under the ADA should now include this class of “tester” plaintiffs.

The second case – City of Costa Mesa v. SoCal Recovery LLC – is currently pending before the Court on a petition for certiorari filed by the City of Costa Mesa. Ring Bender attorneys including partners Norm Dupont, Patrick (Kit) Bobko, Jay Tufano and associates Sage Ertman and David Hori prepared an amicus brief on behalf of the cities of Mission Viejo, Beverly Hills, Dana Point, Fillmore, Newport Beach, Placentia, Santa Ana and the Association of California Cities-Orange County in support of the petition.

This supporting amicus brief was filed on August 9, 2023 and is available here.  In this case, the City of Costa Mesa seeks review of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s determination that a sober living home organization could sue on behalf of future residents “on a collective basis” under the ADA without having to show the disability of any individuals.

More specifically, the sober living home owners sought to override the city’s ability to provide dispersal and distance zoning restrictions for sober living homes, claiming that the exercise of such traditional municipal authority itself constituted an alleged discriminatory violations of the ADA.

Please click here to read the Law360 article.