Last week, motel chain Motel 6 announced it had settled a class action brought on behalf of Latino motel guests who claimed that Motel 6 unlawfully disclosed their personal information to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agents. The suit was originally filed in January 2018, in Arizona federal court, by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
In the complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that Motel 6 violated not only federal law, which prohibits private entities from discriminating on the basis of race or national origin, but also the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unlawful search and seizure, when it volunteered guests’ personal information to federal immigration officials without any suspicion of criminal activity. In addition to violating federal discrimination laws, the suit alleged that the hotel chain committed consumer fraud.
In accordance with the terms of the $6.6 million settlement, class members will receive $50 in damages if Motel 6 shared their personal information with ICE after a stay at the hotel. Class members who were questioned by ICE agents as a result of Motel 6’s violation of their privacy will receive $1,000 in damages and those who forced into removal proceedings as a result of Motel 6’s actions will receive $7,500 in damages. In addition to the monetary aspects of the settlement, Motel 6 agreed to establish company guidelines and controls to protect the private information of guests and to establish an online platform where guests who suspect violations of privacy and discrimination can report such issues. The hotel chain agreed to forward all ICE warrants and subpoenas to its legal department. The settlement is still subject to court approval.
The case is Unknown Party et al. v. Motel 6 Operating LP et al., Case No.: 2:18-cv-00242, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.
This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.