LOS ANGELES – A federal judge in Arizona has granted preliminary approval of a settlement in a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of guests who stayed at Motel 6 nationwide and whose privacy was violated when personal information was provided to federal immigration officials.
U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell’s ruling last Friday means that any person whose information was shared or who had any interaction with federal immigration officials as a result of information being shared at a Motel 6 anywhere in the nation may seek compensation. A website with additional information will go live on August 22. The website, www.motel6settlement.com, will contain forms and instructions for those seeking compensation. A total of up to $10 million is available to be distributed to potential class members, who will have until December 31, 2019 to seek a share of the compensation.
MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) sued Motel 6 in federal court in January 2018 alleging the national hotel chain’s practice of voluntarily giving guests’ personal information to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents without a warrant violates federal and state civil rights and privacy laws, including those barring discrimination based on national origin, and those protecting against unreasonable searches.
A preliminary agreement was reached in November 2018, and, following a settlement by the Washington state attorney general in another case, an updated settlement proposal was recently filed with the court on June 28, 2019.
Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF, issued the following statement on the court’s ruling:
“Motel 6 should never have allowed its locations to cooperate with ICE in targeting guests. This settlement expresses Motel 6’s understanding that a great wrong was done, and the settlement includes new protective policies that should be replicated industry-wide.
“Preliminary approval also means that those whose rights were violated will have the opportunity to seek recompense for what should never have occurred – the sharing of private information, and the raids of accommodations and arrests of guests at Motel 6. We urge all eligible persons whose rights were violated to seek compensation because doing so will also help to send a strong message of deterrence to any other business that may choose to ally itself with federal immigration agents against its own customers.”