PHOENIX, AZ – A federal judge in Arizona has granted final approval of the settlement in national class-action litigation against Motel 6 related to the provision of guest information to federal immigration officials.
MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) filed the lawsuit in 2018 on behalf of guests who stayed at Motel 6 locations nationwide and whose privacy was violated when personal information was provided to federal immigration officials.
Tuesday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell means that members of the class – claimants 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 – will receive a part of the $10 million settlement. Payouts to the nearly 2,000 claimants in the class will range from $75 to $200,000.
“We are grateful that Motel 6 will change practices and is compensating those harmed,” said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel. “The substantial settlement should stand as a warning to all other proprietors not to engage in similar conduct.”
The settlement will also provide that Motel 6 abide by a 3-year decree to ensure that the company complies with privacy protections for guests.
“This settlement provides relief to the thousands of individuals who filed claims and three organizations that will represent affected individuals in immigration proceedings, including guests who may have been reluctant to file a claim,” said Andres Holguin-Flores, staff attorney for MALDEF. “No one should be afraid of having their immigration status revealed or reported if they stay in a hotel or use other public accommodations, such as buses or hospitals.”
On Tuesday, Judge Campbell also overruled objections filed by the Arizona Attorney General who filed an amicus brief challenging the terms of the agreement.
The suit alleged that providing guests’ personal information to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents without a warrant violated federal and state civil rights and privacy laws, including those barring discrimination based on national origin, and those protecting against unreasonable searches and breaches of privacy.
A preliminary agreement was reached in November 2018. A request to update the settlement was filed with the court on June 28, 2019. Preliminary approval of the settlement was granted in August 2019 and was followed by a claims process for all the persons harmed by the sharing of information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The claims process concluded on December 31, 2019.