22 June 2015
US Supreme Court voids Los Angeles ordinance requiring hotel operators to turn over guest records on demand
In a 5-4 opinion rendered on June 22, 2015, the United States Supreme Court held that a Los Angeles municipal code provision violates the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable search and seizures. The invalidated LA Code provision requires hotel operators to make guest records available to the police upon request. This case may be significant because many cities throughout the country have similar laws, and they are now all constitutionally suspect. On the other hand, for reasons discussed below, most hotel operators will probably not care to challenge a records request, and there are expedient alternatives available to cities and police, including administrative subpoenas. See below to access the full Supreme Court opinion in City of Los Angeles v. Patel.
Read on to learn more about the Los Angeles City code’s provisions, the history of the challenge in the District Court, appeals to the Ninth Circuit, and the US Supreme Court’s decision. CONTINUE READING →