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Hotel Lawyers -- featured subjects and articles
Meet the Money® 2014

ADA defense and compliance

EB-5 financing

Workouts, bankruptcies & receiverships

Hotel Management Agreements

Hotel Franchise & License Agreements

Hotel industry trends

This is Jim Butler, author of www.HotelLawBlog.com and hotel lawyer. Please contact me at Jim Butler at jbutler@jmbm.com or 310.201.3526.

Published on:

20 February 2020

See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.
Click here for the latest articles on the impact of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus continues to be of global concern, and remains an issue the hospitality industry should be tracking, both for economic and legal reasons. Bob Braun discusses whether the virus may trigger a force majeure event for hotel operators and owners, and what that might mean for a property’s performance obligations and other operations.

— Jim
Coronavirus as Force Majeure Event:
What Hotel Owners and Operators Should Consider
by
Robert Braun

Coronavirus (COVID 19) has been a leading news item for more than a month now, competing and often pre-empting other national and international news items. For the hospitality industry, the virus has created severe disruptions in the largest single source of tourists. Hotel companies, both inside and outside of China, have warned of reductions in revenues, and as the virus continues to spread, the trend does not bode well. Like the SARS virus of 2002-2003, coronavirus has the potential to disrupt travel for months, and the travel industry will take time to recover.

Performance Tests and More
The most immediate effect will be seen by hotel companies when they review upcoming financial statements and see shortfalls. This could, among other things, cause some hotels to fail their performance obligations, giving owners the right to terminate a management agreement (unless the hotel operator exercised a right to cure the shortfall). At that point, hotel operators are likely to claim that the impact of the virus constitutes a force majeure event, which would require performance tests to change the performance obligations. For more details on performance tests, see our article on Hotel Management Agreement Performance Standards.

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

06 February 2020

See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.
Click here for the latest articles on ADA Compliance and Defense.

Marty Orlick, Chair of JMBM’s ADA Compliance & Defense Group, and his team of ADA lawyers has represented more than 600 business in ADA matters, including hotels and restaurants. He has written extensively about ADA issues, including ADA websites lawsuits, which continue to proliferate.

In this third and final article of this series, Marty discusses ADA litigation that is specific to hotels, and the rise of “copycat” litigation, where more than one plaintiff sues the same entity for the same alleged violation.

This part is titled: ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuits Won’t Go Away in 2020: Part 3 – Website reservations – ADA litigation specific to hotels.

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

4 February 2020

See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.
Click here for the latest articles on ADA Compliance and Defense.

In Part 1 of this 3-part series, my partner, Marty Orlick, Chair of JMBM’s ADA Compliance and Defense Group, explains how we got from providing parking for disabled guests, to providing websites and mobile apps that can be accessed by potential guests who are blind or sight impaired.

Now, in part 2, he writes about a few key court decisions that may affect ADA compliance and litigation, and what they mean to the hospitality industry.

This part is titled: ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuits Won’t Go Away in 2020: Part 2 – Rights to Due Process and Standing Requirements.

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

31 January 2020

See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.
Click here for the latest articles on the coronavirus and here for the latest on force majeure.

Note: If you are an individual consumer with coronavirus-related travel issues, please do NOT contact us! We do not represent individual consumers. We advise businesses on major contracts, investments and financing. 

On January 31, 2020, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) declared the Wuhan coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. The numbers of confirmed cases, as well as the death toll continues to climb. (For current statistics, see the Center for Systems Science and Engineering’s online dashboard that pulls data from the World Health Organization.)

Containing the spread of the disease is of global concern. Beyond the serious human health impacts, businesses worldwide expect disruptions in supply chains for manufactured goods, evidenced by the S&P’s sharp decline on January 31st. The U.S. has issued a “Do not travel to China” advisory, major U.S. airlines announced cancellations of flights to China, and President Trump announced a travel ban on foreign nationals who have traveled to China.

Hoteliers have their own causes of concern.

Chinese nationals comprise the largest tourist market in the world with 159 million outbound tourists in 2019, accounting for 12.2% of all outbound travelers globally and US $275 billion spent. If you cater to even a small percentage of these tourists, their absence will affect your bottom line.

  • Do group travel organizers have contractual obligations to your hotel if they cancel trips due to the coronavirus?
  • If travelers in your hotel infect other guests or your workforce, what is your liability?
  • If you have hotels in China, what responsibilities do you have toward foreign guests who cannot easily return to their home countries?
  • What do you do if your employees refuse to come to work for fear of becoming infected?
  • What policies and procedures should you put in place for managing these kinds of crises?
  • What exactly does your insurance cover?
  • How can you find experts who can help?

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

30 January 2020

See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.
Click here for the latest articles on ADA Compliance and Defense.

JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® has defended hundreds of hotel, resort and restaurant owners all over the United States in ADA litigation, and has provided counseling that has brought entire hotel portfolios into compliance with the ADA.

Hospitality industry veterans fully understand the need to remove physical barriers to disabled guests, which can include a lack of accessible parking, no accessible paths of travel on the hotel grounds, counters exceeding height limits, bathrooms that aren’t accessible to wheelchairs, and so on.

Increasingly, however, we are seeing ADA lawsuits alleging an establishment’s website and mobile application is inaccessible to persons who are blind or sight impaired and use screen reading software.

My partner, Marty Orlick, Chair of JMBM’s ADA Compliance and Defense Group, has written extensively about websites and ADA compliance, and is experienced in defending ADA website lawsuits. In his recent article for Law360 on the topic, he explains the issues, covers recent court decisions, and details ADA website litigation that is specific to hotels.

We’re going to deliver the article to you in blog-sized bites, the first of which is titled, ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuits Won’t Go Away in 2020: Part 1 – How We Got Here.

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

24 January 2020

If you’re planning to attend the 2020 ALIS conference next week, we’d like to hear from you! Our Global Hospitality Group® attorneys are ready to discuss:

  • Successful hotel purchase strategies
  • Getting a great hotel management agreement
  • Optimizing your financing structure
  • Avoiding regulatory pitfalls in 2020
  • How to protect your company and comply with new cybersecurity regulations
  • Hotel industry litigation issues

Please contact us if you’d like to get in touch during the conference:

jim-150x150Jim Butler
Partner, Chairman
Global Hospitality Group®
310.201.3526
JButler@jmbm.com
guy-150x150Guy Maisnik
Partner, Vice Chair
Global Hospitality Group®
310.201.3588
MGM@jmbm.com
david-150x150David A. Sudeck
Partner
310.201.3518
DSudeck@jmbm.com
bob-150x150Robert E. Braun
Partner
310.785.5331
RBraun@jmbm.com
jeff-150x150Jeffrey T. Myers
Partner
310.201.3525
JMyers@jmbm.com
mark-150x150Mark S. Adams
Partner
949.623.7230
MarkAdams@jmbm.com
Published on:

23 January 2020

See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.

Click here for the latest articles on ADA Compliance and Defense.

Over the years, my partner, Marty Orlick, Chair of JMBM’s ADA Compliance and Defense Group, has written about service animals used by persons with disabilities, and what hospitality staff needs to know about how to accommodate them. For example, what should the hostess of your restaurant do when a miniature horse enters your establishment with its disabled owner? What kind of animals qualify as service animals, anyway? And what is the owner’s responsibility?

Read Marty’s latest article on this topic, The ADA and Service Animals – Don’t Horse Around.

Click here to read the article.

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

10 January 2020

See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.

Click here for the latest articles on Data Technology, Privacy & Security.

 

Hotel data breaches can have significant financial and reputational impacts on a brand, as evidenced by Marriott’s $123 million GDPR fine. In the article below, Bob Braun, senior member of JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Cybersecurity & Privacy Group, outlines the critical importance of data security for the hospitality industry.

— Jim
Hotel Managers and Owners Be Warned – You are Responsible for Your Hotel’s Data Security
by
Bob Braun, Cybersecurity Lawyer

The FTC Speaks

On January 6, 2020, the Director of the FTC’s Consumer Protection Bureau published a blog post with changes to the FTC’s approach to its orders and settlements of data breach enforcement actions.  One of the key elements of the report was a revision to the FTC’s routine enforcement practice to ensure that its remedial data security orders include greater specificity about compliance expectations for companies subject to enforcement action and for third-party assessors engaged to conduct FTC-mandated monitoring and audits of targeted companies’ data security practices.

Beyond greater detail guiding data security requirements, the blog post highlights that a core element of the FTC’s model for remedial orders is that senior management, on at least an annual basis, present the company’s written information security program to the board or other governing body for oversight and review, and that management certify to the FTC that the company has complied with data security obligations.

The Growing Role of Managers and Boards in Data Security

The decision by the FTC reflects a growing consensus about the roles and responsibilities of management and boards for the adequacy of enterprise programs to identify, evaluate, and manage data and information security risks.  While this is not the first time boards of directors have been held accountable for the security practices of the companies they represent, it shows that this obligation has become mainstream and should be noted by all companies, whether they

The FTC’s endorsement of data security-related corporate governance approaches, safeguards, and third-party monitoring methods is likely to impact enforcement expectations of other regulators, whether state, federal or local, responsible for administering data security compliance and breach notification regulations.

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

07 January 2020

See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.

Click here for the latest articles on Labor & Employment.
California hotel owners and independent operators must provide
human trafficking awareness training

California SB 970 went into effect January 1, 2020, requiring California hotel and motel employers to provide at least 20 minutes of prescribed training and education regarding human trafficking awareness to employees who are likely to interact or come into contact with victims of human trafficking.

JMBM’s labor and employment lawyers have represented the hospitality industry for decades and can provide effective training for employees, as well as develop policies and procedures that protect employers who are implementing programs in human trafficking awareness.

Marta Fernandez, a partner in JMBM’s Labor and Employment department and a senior member of JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group®, alerted hotel owners and independent operators of the new law shortly after it was signed by the governor in 2018.

CONTINUE READING →

Published on:

02 January 2020

Click here for the latest articles on Data Technology, Privacy & Security.

 

My partner, Bob Braun, senior member of JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Cybersecurity & Privacy Group, has written extensively about the California Consumer Privacy Act that became effective January 1, 2010.  In his excellent article below, he describes how the CCPA will impact the hotel industry.

— Jim

CCPA: Loyalty Programs, Data Retention and the Brave New World of Privacy

by Robert E. Braun

This article first appeared in the Hotel Business Review and is reprinted with permission from www.HotelExecutive.com.

The California Consumer Privacy Act (the “CCPA” or the “Act”) is a piece of consumer privacy legislation which was signed by California Governor Jerry Brown on June 28, 2018, and goes into effect on January 1, 2020. The Act is, far and away, the strongest privacy legislation enacted in the United States at the moment (although there are a number of contenders for that honor), giving more power to consumers to control the collection and use of their private data, and is poised to have far-reaching effects on data privacy.

What is the CCPA?

It is estimated that more than 500,000 companies are directly subject to the CCPA, many of them smaller and mid-size business, where the detailed requirements of the Act – disclosure and notice procedures, opt-out rights, updating privacy policies, and revising vendor agreements – is daunting. As discussed below, many hotels and hotel companies will be directly impacted by the Act, either because their qualify as a “business” as defined in the CCPA, or because they are associated with companies – brands and management companies – that are subject to the Act. Hotel owners, managers and brands that have not grappled with the requirements of the CCPA need to move quickly to do so, or risk potential liability under the penalty provisions of the Act.

Where did the Act Come From?

In early 2018, Alistair McTaggart, a California real estate developer, led an effort to include a new privacy law – the Consumer Right to Privacy Act of 2018 – on the November 2018 California ballot. By June 2018, supporters of the initiative had gathered enough signatures to earn a place on the November ballot. In response, California legislators, working with California businesses and other interest groups, negotiated and passed a substitute bill – the CCPA – in exchange for an agreement to drop the more restrictive text in the Consumer Right to Privacy Act from the November ballot.

The Act is aggressive, and cites the March 2018 disclosure of the misuse of personal data by Cambridge Analytica, as well as the congressional hearings that followed which highlighted the fact that any personal information shared on the internet can be subject to considerable misuse and theft. This prompted the California legislature to move rapidly to protect Californians’ right to privacy by giving consumers much more control of their personal information. CONTINUE READING →

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