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United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
March 29, 2022, Filed
NEWSOM, Circuit Judge:
Another day, another standing case. In this iteration, we have to decide whether an ADA plaintiff suffered a "concrete" injury when she viewed a hotel's website that omitted accessibility-related information required by federal regulations and as a result, she says, experienced "frustration and humiliation"—even though she admits that she had (and has) no intention to personally visit the hotel. Today's case raises difficult questions about how to apply sometimes dissonant standing precedents. But in the final analysis, our recent decision in Sierra v. City of Hallandale Beach, 996 F.3d 1110 (11th Cir. 2021)—which, in turn, relied [*2] on the Supreme Court's decisions in Heckler v. Mathews, 465 U.S. 728, 104 S. Ct. 1387, 79 L. Ed. 2d 646 (1984), and Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 104 S. Ct. 3315, 82 L. Ed. 2d 556 (1984)—requires us to hold, at this stage of the proceedings, that our plaintiff has at least alleged an Article-III-qualifying "stigmatic" injury.
Deborah Laufer is "disab[led]" within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act: She has trouble walking without assistive devices, can't use her hands normally, and is visually impaired. See 42 U.S.C. § 12102(1)(A). She is a self-described advocate for disabled people's rights and a "tester" who monitors whether places of public accommodation and their websites comply with the ADA. In 2019, in the Northern District of Florida alone, Laufer filed more than 50 ADA lawsuits against hotel owners. Arpan, LLC, the owner of America's Best Value Inn in Marianna, Florida, maintains an online reservation system that Laufer says violates the ADA and its implementing regulations.
] In pertinent part, the ADA states that "[n]o individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation." 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a). In particular, the Act prohibits affording disabled persons an unequal ability to participate in or benefit from a service [*3] or accommodation, id. § 12182(b)(1)(A)(ii), and failing to make "reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures" when "necessary" to ensure such participation, id. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(ii). The ADA provides a cause of action for any person "aggrieved" by a violation of the statute, see id. §§ 2000a-3(a), 12188(a)(1) (noting that § 2000a-3(a) applies to those "being subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability" or who have "reasonable grounds for believing" that they are "about to be subjected to discrimination"), and directs the Attorney General to promulgate regulations to carry out the Act's provisions, id. § 12186(b).
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2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 8270 *; 29 F.4th 1268; 29 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C 964
DEBORAH LAUFER, Plaintiff-Appellant, versus ARPAN LLC, d.b.a. America's Best Value Inn, Defendant-Appellee.
Prior History: [*1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. D.C. Docket No. 1:19-cv-00200-AW-GRJ.
Disposition: VACATED and REMANDED.
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Business & Corporate Compliance, Protection of Disabled Persons, Americans With Disabilities Act, Enforcement Actions, Civil Rights Law, Scope, Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Justiciability, Standing, Injury in Fact, Constitutional Law, Case or Controversy, Elements