Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its chill on the hospitality industry, ADA-related digital lawsuits increased by approximately 23% in 2020. Many of these lawsuits are filed against hotels. The complaints allege that a hotel’s online reservation system failed to provide enough detail for individuals with disabilities to decide if the hotel meets their accessibility needs.
These plaintiffs will often claim that it is insufficient to describe an aspect of a hotel or room as “accessible” because the term is an opinion or conclusion. Plaintiffs argue that a hotel’s reservation system must report specific information, such as the dimensions of space under accessible desks and sinks, the slopes of surfaces, doorway clearance, and numerous other technical requirements under the ADA.
Many hotels are fighting back, arguing that the detail provided is sufficient and in compliance with the ADA. So far this year, in February 2021, two judges in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Judge Percy Anderson and Judge Cormac Carney, agreed with the defendants, dismissing three cases with prejudice.