Supreme Court Tosses Case Of Disability ‘Tester’ Who Sued Hundreds Of Hotels She Never Visited

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The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed as moot Tuesday a case considering whether an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) “tester” who never visited a hotel can sue it for failing to offer disability accommodations.

Deborah Laufer, who had targeted over 600 hotel owners and operators with ADA lawsuits, asked the Supreme Court to deem her case against Acheson Hotels moot in July after she dismissed all claims against the business. Though it declined to remove her case from the docket in August, the Supreme Court decided, after hearing oral arguments, that it would dismiss the case because Laufer abandoned her claim.

Because it dismissed the case as moot, the Supreme Court did not reach the question at its center. But it did vacate the First Circuit’s ruling finding that Laufer’s “feelings of frustration, humiliation, and second-class citizenry” gave her standing to sue.

“We are sensitive to Acheson’s concern about litigants manipulating the jurisdiction of this Court,” Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote in the majority opinion, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. “We are not convinced, however, that Laufer abandoned her case in an effort to evade our review”

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 2: A view of the U.S. Supreme Court October 2, 2023 in Washington, DC. The U.S. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“We emphasize, however, that we might exercise our discretion differently in a future case,” Barrett noted. (RELATED: ‘Asking Us To Take On Extra Work’: Justices Look For Easy Way Out In Disability ‘Tester’ Case)

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson concurred in judgement, writing separately to note that she would have left the First Circuit’s ruling in place.

“In my view, when mootness ends an appeal, the question of what to do with the lower court’s judgment, if anything, raises a separate issue that must be addressed separately,” she wrote.

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