Author of www.HotelLawBlog.com
11 September 2006
Hotels and other targets of ADA lawsuits have found a friend in the U.S. Constitution: Article III.
Many thousands of ADA lawsuits have been filed in federal District Courts in the past few years. A large percentage of the plaintiffs filing these lawsuits are represented by a handful of plaintiffs’ organizations that specialize in ADA lawsuits. Because plaintiffs can recover attorneys’ fees and litigation costs and — in California and several other states — damages, in addition to injunctive relief, plaintiffs’ organizations have become a cottage industry.
However, some federal courts have recently determined they have no authority to award attorney’s fees, because the plaintiffs failed to establish “Article III standing”.
Article III of the U.S. Constitution limits the jurisdiction of federal courts to the resolution of “cases” and “controversies.” Article III standing requires a plaintiff to show that (1) he or she has suffered an “injury in fact” that is (a) concrete and particularized, and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical; (2) the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant; and (3) it is likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision.
In the Ninth Circuit, to show a concrete and particularized injury, a plaintiff must demonstrate that he or she is affected in a personal and individual way. These courts have held that a plaintiff has Article III standing only for those ADA violations which he or she personally encountered (or knew of) which then deterred further visits to the property.
In other words, if a plaintiff doesn’t prove he or she planned to return to the hotel at the time the complaint was filed, there is no actual or imminent injury, and therefore no Article III standing. Without Article III standing, a plaintiff’s lawyer cannot collect fees and costs from the defendant.
Without the motivation of collecting attorneys’ fees, ADA plaintiffs’ organizations may stay away from federal court. That still leaves state courts, of course, but that is a subject for another day.
Other articles on ADA
If you found this article of interest, you may want to check out some of the other articles on this topic on www.HotelLawBlog.com which can all be found under the “HOTEL LAW TOPIC” of “ADA” at the top of the home page (or by clicking here). The following are titles and links to some of those articles:
Urgent ADA warning from Hospitality Lawyer: You won’t believe what they want to do with ADA now
Hospitality Lawyers: Defending ADA lawsuits. How your hotel website can make you a target for ADA lawsuits
Our Perspective. We represent developers, owners and lenders. We have helped our clients as business and legal advisors on more than $50 billion of hotel transactions, involving more than 1,000 properties all over the world. For more information, please contact Jim Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310.201.3526.
Jim Butler is one of the top hotel lawyers in the world. GOOGLE “hotel lawyer” or “hotel mixed-use” or “condo hotel lawyer” and you will see why.
Jim devotes 100% of his practice to hospitality, representing hotel owners, developers and lenders. Jim leads JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® – a team of 50 seasoned professionals with more than $50 billion of hotel transactional experience, involving more than 1,000 properties located around the globe.
Jim and his team are more than “just” great hotel lawyers. They are also hospitality consultants and business advisors. They are deal makers. They can help find the right operator or capital provider. They know who to call and how to reach them. They are a major gateway of hotel finance, facilitating the flow of capital with their legal skill, hospitality industry knowledge and ability to find the right “fit” for all parts of the capital stack. Because they are part of the very fabric of the hotel industry, they are able to help clients identify key business goals, assemble the right team, strategize the approach to optimize value and then get the deal done.
Jim is frequently quoted as an expert on hotel issues by national and industry publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, BusinessWeek, and Hotel Business. A frequent author and speaker, Jim’s books, articles and many expert panel presentations cover topics reflecting his practice, including hotel and hotel-mixed use investment and development, negotiating, re-negotiating or terminating hotel management agreements, acquisition and sale of hospitality properties, hotel finance, complex joint venture and entity structure matters, workouts, as well as many operating and strategic issues.
Jim Butler is a Founding Partner of Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP and he is Chairman of the firm’s Global Hospitality Group®. If you would like to discuss any hospitality or condo hotel matters, Jim would like to hear from you. Contact him at email@example.com or 310.201.3526. For his views on current industry issues, visit www.HotelLawBlog.com.