Earlier this week, Motel 6 agreed to pay the state of Washington $12 million to settle a suit alleging it violated privacy laws.
Motel 6, a national motel chain, announced on Thursday that it was going to pay $12 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the state of Washington. The suit was filed over allegations that “names of hotel guests were improperly provided to immigration officials for two years.” As a result, the leaked information allegedly “led to targeted investigations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, who went after people with Latino-sounding names,” according to Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Additionally, these targeted investigations resulted in “some people staying at seven Motel 6 locations in the state being detained or deported.”
The suit was filed last year in King County Superior Court and argues the “company’s disclosures violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act and a law against discrimination.” In a statement regarding the matter, Ferguson said:
“Motel 6’s actions tore families apart and violated the privacy rights of tens of thousands of Washingtonians. Our resolution holds Motel 6 accountable for illegally handing over guests’ private information without a warrant.”
This isn’t the first time Motel 6 has come under fire over allegations of privacy violations. Back in November, the company was hit with a lawsuit by the state of Arizona. To settle the suit, the motel chain ended up having to shell out “$7.6 million to Latino guests who said hotel employees shared private information with immigration officials.”
In the recent Washington state case, Ferguson said the privacy violations were so great that Motel 6 was giving ICE officials information “on a daily basis about a total of 80,000 guests without a warrant between 2015 and 2017.” In one particular case, a Seattle native staying at a “Motel 6 near SeaTac was stopped in a parking lot by ICE agents as he wrapped Christmas presents for his four children.” Several days later, he was deported. Prior to being deported, the man was his family’s sole provider. Since his deportation, “his wife has struggled to support the children.”