The Buckeye Institute Calls on the U.S. Supreme Court to Protect America’s Judicial System from Abuse

Jun 13, 2023

Columbus, OH – On Monday, The Buckeye Institute filed an amicus brief in Acheson Hotels v. Laufer, calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to safeguard the American judicial system from abuse and send a clear message that lawsuits must be based on actual injury or harm.

“The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) serves a laudable goal, but this case is not about the ADA. This case is about the abuse of America’s judicial system,” said David C. Tryon, director of litigation at The Buckeye Institute. “Ms. Laufer has made a lucrative business of suing and scaring small business owners into quickly settling lawsuits that target hotels she believes might violate the ADA. What she cannot do is show that she has suffered any harm from a hotel that did violate the ADA. Ms. Laufer’s abuse of the courts is nothing more than legal extortion that the high court has an opportunity to end.” 

Deborah Laufer is a self-described Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) “tester.” She frequently visits hotel, motel, and bed-and-breakfast websites to see if those websites contain information that she believes is required by the ADA. If she believes the websites do not have sufficient information regarding a facility’s accessibility, she files a lawsuit in federal court, even if she never intended to visit the hotel and suffered no injury or harm. In fact, Ms. Laufer has filed more than 600 federal lawsuits and, in this case, admits that she had no intention of staying at the Coast Village Inn and Cottages. Her visit to the website was to create the pretext for the lawsuit. 

In its brief, The Buckeye Institute argues that given Ms. Laufer’s admission that she never intended to stay at Coast Village Inn and Cottages or even visit Maine, she lacks standing to file a lawsuit claiming injury.  

Larry Obhof, a partner at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP and former president of the Ohio Senate, is the counsel of record for The Buckeye Institute on this brief. The Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association, National Real Estate Investors Association, Maine Policy Institute, and Job Creators Network joined The Buckeye Institute in filing the brief.

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UPDATE: On December 5, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated Acheson Hotels v. Laufer as moot and did not address the merits of the standing argument.