SCOTUS case questions who can sue for ADA violations

Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 5:52 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - When a business is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities act, it’s often up to private citizens to file complains.

It’s a job Deborah Laufer has taken on. She’s filed over 600 lawsuits.

One of them, against a Hotel in Maine is now at the Supreme Court.

The questions is being asked - because she didn’t have the intention of actually staying at the hotel - should she be allowed to sue?

“To have standing a plaintiff must have suffered what the cases call an injury, in effect, a concrete and particularized injury,” explains Lawrence Ebner of the Atlantic Legal Foundation. “The question here is whether a the internet tester such as Ms Laufer for the plaintiff in this case has suffered such an injury.”

Advocates for Laufer say she’s providing a service - by protecting future travelers with disabilities.

“The threat of Tester lawsuits, I think probably a play some role in ensuring compliance with these important federal laws,” said Miriam Becker-Cohen of the Constitutional Accountability Center.

Others say these lawsuits are frivolous, and hurt the hospitality industry.

“Most of the defendants hotels and small Airbnbs don’t have the resources to litigate, and so they settle” said Ebner.

Arguments on the case will be heard Wednesday - a ruling is expected in Spring 2024.